BOSTON (CBS) — Martellus Bennett followed up his ugly departure from the Packers with a surprisingly swift return to the Patriots lineup after being claimed off waivers last week. The tight end only played seven snaps against the Broncos on Sunday night, but made his presence felt by catching all three of his targets for 38 yards and passing the “eye test”.
Bennett may be with the Pats now, but he still has plenty to say about his public controversy with his former team. He addressed his issues with Green Bay’s decision to waive him, which prompted a profane Instagram rant, and returning to New England when he spoke to reporters after the Patriots’ 41-16 blowout win in Denver. He felt for a time that he should end his season and undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, but now that he’s back with the Patriots he’s excited to put his shoulder repair on hold and play the season out.
“It wasn’t ‘Could you play? It was ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things,” Bennett said. “Right now I’m just like [expletive] it. When Bill called me after they claimed me, at first I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. When Bill called and said that they claimed me, I was like ‘No [expletive] way.
“I don’t even know if I went through the seven stages of grief yet [after getting waived]. I’m probably on step three. But the group of guys here on this team, there couldn’t be a better place for me with what I’m going through right now and that situation. With all the familiar faces and friends, it’s been good to have those guys around.”
Bennett still appears to have hard feelings with the Packers after the way he says they handled his injury and subsequent waiving. But now, reinvigorated with a desire to fight through the injury, the tight end sounds motivated to show Green Bay what they gave up on last week.
“It wasn’t where I was, it was the injury,” Bennett said. “I talked to six or seven doctors about [my shoulder] and it could go either way. It was one of those things I felt I should get fixed. And then after trying to get it fixed and getting waived, you get that vengeance in your heart. You’re like, ‘Alright, that’s how you’re going to do it, [expletive] it. Let’s go ball.'”
In addressing the criticism he has faced in the past from former employers and others, Bennett said that his family is the only group of people whose opinion really matters to him – and he said it in the way that only he could.
“I got criticism from all of my former organizations,” Bennett said, via the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels. “I mean, [expletive]. At this point, it’s like I’m rubber and you’re glue, anything you say bounces off me and sticks back to you. At this point, there’s nothing else anyone can say to me and my career that could make me feel any way toward myself ’cause the team that I’ll always have is my wife and my daughter.
“They’re always rooting for me no matter what. I may wear different jerseys but I’m still the same man with my family. That’s all that really matters. Like I told the guys, ‘in order for the Phoenix to be reborn, he must first turn to ashes.'”
Less than a week ago, Bennett thought he was transitioning to doing “normal people [expletive]”. But with three eye-opening catches on Sunday night, Bennett instead looked like a tight end with a sudden thirst to help the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl.