The Martellus Bennett that has talked to the media during Super Bowl week is far different from the one that left Chicago less than a year ago.
In his last couple years in Chicago, Martellus Bennett’s quotes and antics off the field far outweighed his production on it. Bennett made it clear he was unhappy in Chicago both to his bosses and to the media. He was furious he hadn’t received a contract extension, and once he saw the writing on the wall, he wanted out of Chicago immediately.
Sometimes, beggars can be choosers, because of all teams, the New England Patriots picked up the phone and traded for the Chicago Bears’ bitter tight end. Everyone knew that Bennett would be an asset in New England’s two-tight end sets and would be even more important if the oft-injured Rob Gronkowski went down with an injury.
Bennett became a key component for the Patriots, and when Gronkowski went out for the year, now less than a year after pouting in Chicago’s locker room, Bennett was the starting tight end for the best team in the league, and headed to the Super Bowl.
Early in Bennett’s Patriots’ tenure, he wasn’t afraid to take a few shots at the Bears or Jay Cutler, especially when he and his brother talked with ESPN for the E:60 show. But after five months with his new team, Bennett has learned the “Patriot Way” and sings a different tune nowadays when he’s addressing the media.
During Super Bowl week, when Bennett was asked about his days in Chicago, rather than speaking of them with contempt, he looked at them with a sense of gratification.
"I’m very fortunate for my time in Chicago. There were so many different things that I was able to do as a player. The team goals we didn’t always reach, but I there were a lot individual statistics that in my career I never reached and I had some great years there. I played with a lot of great guys and a historic franchise. I was able to break some of Ditka’s records that had been around for 50 years. My ultimate goal was to be the best tight end in Chicago Bears history and I think I was on pace to do that but things didn’t end up the way I wanted. That’s one of the things I probably would look back on in different situations, it’s like, I could be somewhere where in history I could be one of the greatest to ever do it in that city. Overall, I love a lot of the play I developed a lot there. As a human being, dealing with different issues in the work place and things like that, I’m very fortunate for all of that."
In September, Bennett stated that Cutler wasn’t a leader and someone who shouldn’t be the face of a franchise. Now, when asked about how his relationship was with Jay Cutler, Bennett sang a different tune. “I jived with Jay Cutler just fine, I caught a lot of passes from him.”
Short and sweet and devoid of any controversy. While Bennett didn’t praise his former quarterback, he certainly didn’t knock him either.
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Bill Belichick and Tom Brady never say anything controversial; they never give the media a juicy quote. They are the faces of the “Patriot Way.” The team keeps everything internal and puts on a plain face to the media with quotes that are devoid of information or controversy.
Back in September, when the E:60 was released, one had to wonder if Bennett wouldn’t buy into the Patriots’ system and process and stay the boisterous personality he always has been. But as the season has worn on, it’s clear Bennett has embraced the New England attitude and is no longer going to be the man who the media runs to for a quote to use on the front page of the sports section.
Bennett is no longer interested in knocking the Bears, the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten or any of his former targets. He’s focused on football and winning. The plentiful soundbites he provided to the media seem to be a thing of the past.
That couldn’t be clearer when Bennett was pressed further on his former team and what he thinks the Bears should do with Cutler this offseason, Bennett again wouldn’t bite, “That’s between him and the Bears. I don’t play with that organization anymore. I’m a Patriot.”
He certainly is.