Martellus Bennett: Captain of Semantics

The neverending saga of former Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett took an interesting turn Friday afternoon.

Now back in New England with a Patriots team whose 2016 season culminated in a championship, Bennett took to Instagram -- much like his retirement announcement over the bye week -- to address his fallout with the Packers.

"The Packers examined my shoulder on my visit March 10 and cleared it," Bennett wrote. "They even gave me an X-ray as well. It got worse during the season, specifically against the Cowboys so I asked to have it checked and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now here we are..."

The full transcript of Bennett's post can be found here.

Pertaining to his examination in March, the Packers cleared Bennett's alleged shoulder injury and Bennett claimed in his post that team doctor Pat McKenzie pushed him to play through the injury and decline surgery. "Dr. McKenzie didn't make [me] feel safe and was pushing to play, which I thought was weird. Not that he was trying to get me to play thru it but the way he was saying things. I didn't trust him."

McKenzie, who has long been renowned as one of the NFL's top team physicians for several years, has served in Green Bay since 1991. He along with the rest of the Packers' training staff is known to be one of the most naturally and historically conservative in the league.

Bennett's disputing that McKenzie knew about the shoulder injury, yes, but also, that the Packers wrongly released him with a "failure to disclose injury" designation.

Once the Packers released Bennett on Wednesday, he was signed by the Patriots almost 24 hours later -- just before the waiver wire window closed. They picked up his three-year, $21 million dollar contract and just like that, it seemed as if the shoulder he was so adamant about having surgery on no longer existed.

Bennett was a limited participant in the Patriots' practice on Friday, however, for him to even be eligible to practice, he needed to pass his physical with the team -- which he did. Essentially, it boils down to this: Bennett wasn't going to stick around on a team lacking Aaron Rodgers and tough through an injury to play with Brett Hundley. Tom Brady, on the other hand, changes the entire dynamic.

As a result of Bennett's accusations against Dr. McKenzie, several Packers players -- both current and former -- have come to his defense.

Fullback John Kuhn, who played nine seasons in Green Bay, was quick to defend McKenzie via Twitter.

"In 9 years of working with Doc McKenzie he never pressured me to play one time. In fact, I would argue that I pressured him to let me play at times."

There wasn't much of a change in dialogue with wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who is currently in his ninth season with the team. He also noted that he tried pushing McKenzie to let him play sooner than he had to in a statement he released on his usually quiet Twitter account.

"In 10 years of being with the Packers organization and having multiple injuries and surgeries, I have never once felt pressured to play in a game. If anything,  I have had to try and convince Dr. McKenzie and the athletic trainers to allow me to practice or play in a game. Dr. McKenzie is very cautious about putting players back on the field with an injury and always puts the player's health before the team."

Nelson's comments are also consistent with what Packers writer Mike Spofford wrote on McKenzie in March of 2011 after McKenzie was awarded the Jerry "Hawk" Rhea Award as the NFL's physician of the year.

"A modest man who doesn't seek attention for his role with one of the league's most storied franchises, McKenzie never expected to receive such an honor," Spofford wrote. "In fact, during the awards ceremony, as McKenzie’s own group, the NFL Physicians Society, was presenting its athletic trainer of the year award to the Denver Broncos’ Steve Antonopulos, McKenzie was jotting down a “note to self” to make sure to nominate Packers head athletic trainer Pepper Burruss for that award next year."

Nelson is known to be one of the most soft-spoken players on the Packers' roster from an outside perspective. For him to speak out in favor of Dr. McKenzie speaks volumes. McKenzie and Nelson are also familiar with each other, as Nelson was sure to thank McKenzie and the Packers' training staff when he won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award earlier this year.

According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers right guard Jahri Evans said just last week that the Packers are much more cautious in putting injured players on the field. "They're not really aggressive as far as sending guys back out there."

The cards are stacked against Bennett's accusations, but this whirlwind he-said-she-said is certainly far from over.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (27)

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Since'61's picture

November 10, 2017 at 05:25 pm

Bottom line - Rodgers went down and Bennett didn't want to play in GB any longer. Even while he played before Rodgers was hurt he dropped too many passes including the last pass thrown by Rodgers which cost the Packers a first down at the time.

For all we know he was creating problems in the Packer locker room. Let him go and let the Packers move on.
We don't need any one who doesn't want to be here.
Thanks, Since '61

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flackcatcher's picture

November 10, 2017 at 06:06 pm

Well put '61. Bennett could have worked out a deal with the Packers. This is an organization that does not throw their players or coaches "under the bus". But no, he of too much ego and too little common sense had to run his mouth one final time. What a stupid selfish SOB.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

November 10, 2017 at 05:40 pm

M. Bennett is history. He said, she said. Whatever! Time to get over him and on to Soldier Field to beat the Bears. Go Pack!

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

November 10, 2017 at 09:54 pm

More like, "one guy lied lied, insisted he couldn't practice, claimed honest trainer tried to push him, and then was on the practice field immediately after joining the Patriots."

You're trying to downplay the fact that he's a complete malcontent liar.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

November 11, 2017 at 08:50 am

More like Ted Thompson is a great judge of character as well as football talent. We are all angry with the current situation in Green Bay because we lost Aaron Rodgers for a significant amount of time and need to vent our anger. If he’s lying then the Packers will get compensated and he should be suspended. I guess the Packers didn’t vet Bennett’s “Packer People” potential, and now we see he’s been a “locker room poison” and a distraction to the team. So why were so many of us fooled into thinking he was going to be a great additional weapon for Aaron Rodgers if he’s a horrible person? He lied and fooled everyone I guess. Shame on us for being so gullible. I don’t care about Marty Bennett. I just hope we can beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl in Minnesota in February.

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JerseyAl's picture

November 10, 2017 at 06:39 pm

Any packers fan knows that their medical staff is as conservative as they come. We've been complaining for years about how long it takes for players to be cleared to play after injuries. I don't believe a word of what he's saying, and the comments from other Packers players support that.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 10, 2017 at 06:47 pm

AS you said Zach this is not over, not by a long shot. Dr. Mckenzie is highly respected and is one of top doctors in sports. Teams have trying to lure McKenzie away from the Packers for years now. Players and coaches from other NFL teams I've talked to bring him up without any prompting. They rave about the man, wish he was in their organizations. Packers players to a man say Doc Mckenzie cares about them as people, that he wants them to be a healthy as possible when playing. But equally, he want them to be healthy when they leave the game. Bennett went to the one place that players and coaches never go. And he harmed a good and decent man in the process. Martellus Bennett is a fool.

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Coldworld's picture

November 10, 2017 at 06:53 pm

The more he speaks, the worse the person he portrays himself to be. For one who likes to claim the moral high road off the pitch this only serves to undermine the social issues which he supports. A shame, because he could have been an advocate for good in the wider community, but I for one will find it hard to give him credence after this. It doesn't do Robert Kraft any good in terms of my esteem either. One would think Bennet might like that, but hypocrisy may be acceptable where it suits their personal interests?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 10, 2017 at 07:06 pm

I wrote that Bennett could damage GB on his way out of town, but assuming that he suits up and plays for NE, I think he has only damaged himself. He looks like a guy who finds grievances and blames others.

Probably isn't fair but I am looking more askance at the grievance industry types.

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CheesyTex's picture

November 10, 2017 at 08:00 pm

Bennett: "After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery."

Huh? When is the surgery scheduled? Why will he play for the Patriots before surgery?

Just more drivel.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 11, 2017 at 04:44 am

^^^^^This^^^^^

Cut and dry, to the point. Bennett says "I chose surgery". Yet he's no longer going to have surgery and he's actually getting ready to play for NE.

I'm not overly concerned what others might think about the Packers organization, people who have watched Bennett over the years knows he's a nut. You don't have to even know the guy to know this, it appears EVERYWHERE he plays, in many of the things he says and does, and right here and now. People with an IQ over 70 should be able to figure this out.

My ONLY concern from this is IF Thompson stays after this season will other players believe Bennett and avoid GB in FA. That's assuming Thompson even considers FA again. Based on what I've seen this season with or without Rodgers the Packers HAVE to be active in FA before the 2018 season.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 11, 2017 at 11:31 am

At least you didn't take a shot at Ted this time..... (I salute you for your restraint :)

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Denver's picture

November 10, 2017 at 08:12 pm

Asshat...glad he's gone.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 10, 2017 at 09:40 pm

Good one!

Asshat and Jackwagon. 2 best insults in the English language that are not completely obscene!

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4thand1's picture

November 10, 2017 at 09:48 pm

wow, what a dick

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stockholder's picture

November 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Stirring the pot never did anyone good. The packer's will stay away from free Agency. Bennett got what he wanted. The Packers found out the hard way. It's time the rest of you understand this is a business. That most players only care about themselves now. Yes Bennett caused some big ripples. But Someone will smooth the surface. And will be better for it. One problem just left. If others want to walk in his shoes, they can leave too. The Packers need to take care of the business at hand. Beat the Bears!

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

November 11, 2017 at 03:48 pm

If there has ever been a time where a jersey burning ceremony has been appropriate this it.

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Point-Packer's picture

November 10, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Nice to see Jared Cook killing it in Oakland. Nice one Ted. Not like Bennett and his idiot brother were known nut jobs prior to your signing. What a clueless f-up.

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JDK52's picture

November 10, 2017 at 11:33 pm

I'll remind Ted to ask you to look into the future and predict which signings will be good and which to stay away from next season.

So sick of all the yahoos acting like they called this in the offseason. Nobody knew it would turn out this badly, and most were thrilled to see Ted sign a highly-touted FA.

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Point-Packer's picture

November 11, 2017 at 12:12 am

I actually called this in the offseason. If I was much more bored than I am right now. I'd go back and pull my comments after the signing from this blog. Bennett is a known but job who was never really that good. Ted gave him rockstar money and let a proven commodity who wanted to stay in GB leave. And he is on pace for 70 plus catches and 1k receiving in Oakland. Meanwhile the known nut job is back in NE. The Ted is a great GM narrative is nothing more than myth at this point.

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Donster's picture

November 11, 2017 at 06:21 am

So if Bennett's shoulder injury is so bad, then how did he pass the physical at New England and practiced yesterday?

Well either he is lying his ass off, or New England has passed a players physical with a definite serious injury. If that is the case, doesn't that make New England's team Doctor(s) look like they want their players on the field no matter what the injury is? Just sayin'.

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Coldworld's picture

November 11, 2017 at 08:30 am

Without getting into the merits of what Bennet claims to stand for, I think what is important is what he has demonstrated about his character and about what that clearly means for his individual credibility on any social cause, whether you sympathize with it or reject it. Having Bennet back a cause, for me, would degrade it because he is a person who has shown himself devoid of personal integrity.

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chaka's picture

November 11, 2017 at 08:44 am

Packers would have better off with Colt Lyerla. They should give him a call...

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Vrog's picture

November 11, 2017 at 09:38 am

The voice of reason

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Curry Rambeau's picture

November 11, 2017 at 09:02 am

Can we have “Fan friendly” comments only please?

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nostradanus's picture

November 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

ok y'all, time to move on from the left/right hate speak.
This is just about a selfish player getting his way and all the money he can get while he is still relevant in the NFL.
It's happened to the Packers before (remember Joe Johnson who got his payday and then just quit playing)
So the Packers have a bit of egg on their faces and they have quickly remidied the problem and have moved on, time for us as fans and Packer brethren to move on also.
I think the whole Packers team will come together over this, they know what he is and that he quit on them.
I love me some Packers win or lose. Now lets beat them Bears!
Go Pack & Super Bowl!!

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JerseyAl's picture

November 11, 2017 at 08:40 pm

We are done here. Comments are closed. All threads with hateful or racist comments of ANY kind were deleted. Come back with that stuff again and you will be blocked permanently.

Get off my lawn...

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