New England Patriots

After Packers exit, TE Martellus Bennett calls return to Patriots “surreal”

A week ago, Martellus Bennett thought his next stop was surgery, not New England.
Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots can be awfully enticing.
The newly acquired tight end was active Sunday night and didn’t take long to fit back in as he caught three passes for 38 yards against Denver. This despite a shoulder injury that led to his release from Green Bay. The Patriots claimed Bennett on Thursday after he was waived.
“Last week I thought I was going to be on IR,” Bennett said. “It’s just been a surreal week for me.”

Bennett played seven snaps and finished with three catches for 38 yards. Then he addressed why he is still playing when he was prepared to undergo surgery in Green Bay.

“I talked to six or seven doctors about it, and it could go either way, and it was one of those things that I felt like should get fixed,” Bennett said. “And then after trying to get it fixed and getting waived, you just got that vengeance in your heart. You’re like, ‘All right, that’s how you’re going to do it? Then … let’s go ball.'”

The shoulder injury was what led the Packers to waive him Wednesday with a “failure to disclose a physical condition” designation. Bennett disputed that, saying in a recent post on Instagram that the Packers examined his shoulder when he signed as a free agent in March and cleared him. Bennett said his shoulder got worse during the season and that he asked to have it checked after a win on Oct. 8 against the Dallas Cowboys. Bennett said he chose to have surgery but the Packers team physician “didn’t make me feel safe and was pushing to play.” Bennett says he got three other opinions who said that he needed to have the shoulder fixed.

Bennett said quarterback Tom Brady reached out to him and relayed that he was intrigued about Bennett possibly returning to the Patriots, but Bennett wasn’t sure what to do. Even when Bill Belichick contacted him, Bennett wasn’t certain about his plans.

“When Bill called and said they had claimed, I said, ‘No f—ing way,'” Bennett said. “Then he was like, what’s going on? And I told him, and then we had a quick conversation, and he was like, ‘Let me think about it, and I will call you back.'”

Part of what led Bennett to join the Patriots was his familiarity with them from the previous season.

“I think this group of guys and this team, it couldn’t be a better [situation] with what I am going through,” he said. “It couldn’t be a better place for me.”

That might explain why he backed off an Instagram post from when he was with the Packers, in which he said this was probably his last season.

“I don’t know,” he said Sunday night, when asked about his future. “I am just playing as I go. I am enjoying playing here and things like that, so life’s good.”

As for criticism he has received from Green Bay, Bennett said, “I got criticism from all of my former organizations, so, I mean, f— it at this point. I am rubber, and you’re glue, and anything you say bounced off me and sticks to you.”

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