Patriots fans yearning for Martellus Bennett soundbites now have the opportunity to enjoy the next best thing.
Bennett’s brother, Michael, who joined the Patriots in the offseason, made his team debut at Day 4 of training camp Sunday morning after a three-day excused absence.
Here are some highlights as Michael introduced himself to both his teammates and the local media:
Martellus told him what to expect.
His brother pointed out that Bill Belichick is a great coach and that he’s always going to ask players to do more than they initially think they’re capable of doing.
Martellus said to be ready to potentially change positions and work on every skill, because Belichick has a proclivity for mixing things up.
“I’m happy about that,” Bennett told reporters. “That’s all you can ask for as a player is a coach who wants to help you continue to get better and help you prove yourself over and over.”
He flew in from Hawaii the morning of practice.
Bennett said he hopped off the plane early Sunday, noting that it wasn’t too jarring of a transition to get back onto the field after spending time in Hawaii.
“It’s still early over there, it’s still nighttime over there, so it’s good,” he said.
He acknowledged he didn’t get much sleep, pointing out that it’s hard to sleep on the plane, but that didn’t slow him down. Reports from Gillette Stadium indicated that he was sharp throughout practice and showed no ill effects after the long flight.
He said he had a family issue he had to take care of, and he appreciated Belichick’s willingness to allow him to miss the first three days of camp.
Michael Bennett on Belichick: When you have a boss that respects you like a man, it’s easy to go out and play for him. I think for me, it’s easy to look him in the eye and whatever he asks me to do, I’ll do it simply because he respects me as a human being. I respect that.
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 28, 2019
“It’s nice when you have a coach that sees you as a human, sees you as a human being, not just a number and you’re able to go talk to him, tell him what’s going on, and you’re able to go take care of it,” Bennett told reporters. “That just makes you want to play harder for a coach. When he believes in you, and lets you take care of your family first.”
He’s always dreamed of playing for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
He called himself a lucky guy for getting the chance to come into an organization with no added pressure.
“This is just a team, I mean, I always dreamed about getting a chance to play in that stadium,” Bennett told reporters. “When I grew up, Adalius Thomas and Ty Law and all those guys were guys I looked up to, and it’s just an honor to be able to walk into that place.”
He said he cherishes every day like it’s his last and is focused on playing as hard as he can. Bennett doesn’t view training camp as a chore, but rather as an opportunity to show his teammates how much he loves the game.
“I think it’s important,” he said. “Training camp is always fun. It’s another time to get a chance to work with young guys, and you get a chance to work on your skills and prove yourself every day.”
Bennett noted that he doesn’t have any expectations and wants to simply keep proving himself. He said he’s been doubted his whole career, and this is another opportunity to “keep balling” in his older age.
Michael Bennett on what it means to him to be a Patriot: “I always dreamed about playing in that stadium.” pic.twitter.com/EhJn2w3rqH
— Patriots on NBCSB (@NBCSPatriots) July 28, 2019
Jerod Mayo is someone he respects.
Always quick to crack a joke, Bennett poked fun at linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.
“I told Jerod that I’m not listening to him because we’re the same age,” Bennett said.
He then clarified that it’s ideal to have built-in chemistry because they came out at the same time in the draft. They used to work together at Ty Warren’s camp, and Bennett said it will be easy to trust him.
“It’s nice to have a young guy who knows the plays, who lived the defense, and he just knows,” Bennett said. “You trust the way that he plays because he played in the game and you know he knows the call. He was the leader before, so to have him in the huddle every single time, you can’t let him down because he’s been in the game.”
He was surprised people thought he might retire.
Bennett made it clear he hasn’t “quit on anything” in a long time.
“I don’t even quit when I play my daughter in checkers,” he said.