Martellus Bennett was going to retire until Bill Belichick called him
Martellus Bennett was waived by the Green Bay Packers less than a week ago, and all indications were that his shoulder injury would likely sideline him for the remainder of the year. But on Sunday night, Bennett caught three passes and helped the New England Patriots defeat the Denver Broncos. How did things change so quickly?
Bill Belichick, that’s how.
Following Sunday’s game, Bennett said he initially told his agent to tell no teams to claim him because he planned to have shoulder surgery then retire. Belichick’s call changed Bennett’s mind.
“It’s not about, ‘Could you play?’ It’s, ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things. Right now, I’m just like, (expletive) it,” he explained, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “At first, I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. So when Bill called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’”
The timeline will be important, especially with Bennett and the Packers expected to go to war over the tight end’s salary. Green Bay could decide to file a grievance claiming Bennett forced his way back to the Patriots, but Bennett said Belichick called him after the Patriots claimed him, which would be different than calling him before.
Bennett indicated earlier this year that he is planning to retire after the 2017 season, but he said Sunday that he has not made up his mind.
“It was pretty cool,” Bennett said of being back with the Patriots. “Last week, I thought I was going to be on IR, so it’s just been a surreal week for me.”
The confusing thing about Bennett’s situation is that he unloaded on Green Bay’s team doctor for trying to force him to play through a “major injury,” yet now he is content foregoing surgery to play for New England. Bennett admitted that has something to do with “vengeance.”
“After trying to get (the shoulder surgically) fixed and getting waived, you’ve got that vengeance in your heart like, ‘All right, that’s how you’re going to do it? (Expletive) it, let’s go ball,'” he said.
With another weapon now at their disposal for Tom Brady, the Patriots may have once again found themselves in the right place at the right time.