BOSTON (CBS) — Michael Bennett was missing from Tuesday’s Patriots practice in Foxboro, but it was not because of an injury. The veteran defensive end has reportedly been suspended by the team for conduct detrimental, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Giardi.
The suspension is for one week, according to Rapoport and Giardi, so don’t expect to see Bennett on the practice field this week, or in the lineup Monday night when the Patriots visit the New York Jets.
The team has not confirmed the suspension, but Bennett gave a statement to ESPN regarding the situation.
“On Friday, I had a philosophical disagreement with my position coach that has led to my suspension,” Bennett told ESPN, via Jordan Schultz. “I apologize to my teammates for any distraction this may have caused.”
Bennett was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Eagles in the offseason, and the team even gave him a raise when they brought him in. But the 33-year-old has seen his playing time decrease over the first six weeks. He played in 37 snaps back in Week 1 — 55 percent of New England’s defensive plays — but just 25 snaps total over the last two games.
Things appear to have hit a boiling point after Bennett played just 11 snaps last Thursday night against the Giants, his lowest snap total of the season. Most of Bennett’s playing time came when the game was in hand in the fourth quarter.
After the win, he was at a loss over his playing time.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” the veteran told Greg Bedard of The Boston Sports Journal. “You have to ask Bill. I wish I knew. If I had a better answer, I would tell you.”
He voiced his displeasure with his role to Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema the following day, earning him a one-week suspension.
Bennett doesn’t fit in New England’s 3-4 scheme, but he has still been an effective player when he’s been on the field. In his six games this season, the 33-year-old has racked up five tackles (included three for a loss) and 2.5 sacks. Now, the Patriots need to find a way to make Bennett happy, or move on from the player. He’s still a valuable depth piece, should any of New England’s defensive lineman go down during the season, but it doesn’t sound like he’s happy with being a body on the depth chart.
The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29. We’ll see if Bennett is still on the Patriots after that day.