Patriots

Patriots excited to have Bennett back in the mix, banged-up shoulder and all

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett's injury history will be combed through and parsed, it seems, until we find out exactly what percentage of his shoulder looks like confetti and how it got that way in the first place.

Here's what we know: Bennett had shoulder issues last season as a member of the Patriots; during the Packers Week 8 bye, he said on Instagram that he was "pretty sure" he would retire after this season; he landed on the injury report with a shoulder injury following the team's first practice after the bye; he did not play in a Week 9 loss to the Lions; Green Bay released him this week with a "failure to disclose a physical condition" designation.

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Since then, both NFL Media and ESPN have reported that Bennett is dealing with a torn rotator cuff. ESPN said Bennett has a torn labrum as well.

Indications are that Bennett will try to play through any ailments he's coping with at the moment. According to one Patriots player who has been in touch with Bennett, the tight end is happy to be back in New England given that he was available for any team in the league to claim after the Packers waived him. Even if Bennett thought he was destined to pass through waivers -- it's relatively unusual for vested veterans like Bennett to be claimed -- he'll take comfort in the fact that the place where he's headed is somewhere he's been before.

His old teammates, now his teammates once again, said on Friday morning that they're excited to know he's back in the mix. 

Danny Amendola, who has known Bennett and his brother Michael since they were athletes growing up in the Houston area, couldn't stop smiling when speaking about the recent addition to the Patriots offense. The two entered the league together in 2008 as Cowboys rookies.

"I’m excited," Amendola said, acknowledging that he may have lost his locker-room DJ duties with Bennett's arrival. "He’s been my friend for a long time. We came in this league together in Dallas, so 10 long years. He’s a great guy. We’re all happy to have him back."

Bennett's contributions off the field were widely noted by teammates last season since he was someone who kept things light in what is oftentimes a hyper-serious environment.

"Energy and thoughtfulness, and he’s a great teammate," Amendola said when asked what Bennett will bring to the locker room. "He’s gonna help us out a lot, as he did last year. It’s going to be fun."

On Bennett's on-the-field talents, Amendola added: "He can run and catch. He blocks well in the run game, obviously, and an all-around good football player. He knows the system, he knows the environment, he knows the energy when you walk into the building every day, and he’s familiar with that. Marty B’s back."

How healthy he is, and how much he'll be able to help the Patriots remains to be seen. But from the front office, to the coaching staff, to the players Bennett will share a locker room with at Gillette Stadium, they're clearly ready to give this marriage another go.

It makes too much sense not to.

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