Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett calls on Brady, Brees, Manning to join NFL players' protests

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Martellus Bennett calls on Brady, Brees, Manning to join NFL players' protests

Former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett is an athlete who's never been reticent to speak out on social causes.

At a forum titled "Athletes + Activism" in Washington, Bennett said if Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning would join the protests begun by Colin Kaepernick, "the conversation in the NFL would change."

"If Peyton Manning joined the conversation, the conversation in the NFL would change,” Bennett said, per Yahoo's Jason Owens. “If Drew Brees came in and really joined the conversation, it would change. Tom Brady. All these great white heroes that they have running around, throwing the football — if they jump into the conversation, it would be so much bigger.”

Kaepernick, while with the San Francisco 49ers, kneeled during the national anthem to draw attention to racial inequality and police brutality. It led other players following suit, President Trump weighing in against the protests and NFL owners having to address the issue by requiring players who wanted to protest to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

"If they were to take a knee with Colin Kaepernick, that conversation would totally change," Bennett said. "If Tom Brady took a knee, white America would be like, 'Oh my God. What is this that Tom Brady's talking about?'

“They would start doing research and would join in the conversation. It would pique their interest. But since it's a black guy taking a knee, it's like, 'Alright, these guys, here he goes again. It's another one of these guys out here doing this.’”

While with the Patriots, Bennett, who retired in 2017 after 10 years in the NFL, stayed in the locker room during the anthem. With the Green Packers, he protested by raising a black-gloved fist while the anthem was being played. His brother, Michael, a defensive end who came to the Patriots via trade this spring, has said he'll continue to stay in the locker room during the anthem, as he did with the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Martellus Bennett said another former Patriot, defensive end Chris Long, who joined his teammates in protests during the anthem while with the Philadelphia Eagles, didn't have the impact that white quarterbacks would have.

"Chris Long [joined] the conversation, but he's a defensive end," Bennett told the forum. "I love Chris Long. Chris Long is my boy. Shoutout to Chris. But it's not the position.”

Last summer, when interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Brady said the controversy surrounding the protests prompted "a lot of good healthy conversations ... in our locker room."

"I respect why people are doing what they are doing. And they’re doing it for different reasons, and that’s okay. You know, you can do things for your reason," Brady told Winfrey. "They can do things for their reason, and you have respect for that. But, I thought it was great."  

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This is why Martellus Bennett won't return to Patriots

This is why Martellus Bennett won't return to Patriots

Martellus Bennett contributed to the New England Patriots in both of his stints with the team. But with Rob Gronkowski retired, Jacob Hollister traded, and no activity at the position in the draft, the Patriots' cupboard at tight end is looking bare.

Speculation that Bennett may make a comeback began following the Patriots' trade for his brother, defensive end Michael Bennett, back in March.

But in a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Martellus explained why he won't be joining his brother for another stint in New England.

Per TMZ Sports, Bennett is "focusing on his multimedia production company, [and is] doing everything from book publishing to animated features and more."

When asked about a potential return, Bennett responded, "It's not me. I'm not the one."

The Patriots acquired tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins following Rob Gronkowski's retirement earlier this offseason.

They also traded tight end Jacob Hollister to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick and elected not to take a tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft last week. 

But if the Patriots are looking for a boost at tight end, it looks like it won't be coming from Bennett.

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Why is Michael Bennett a great fit for Patriots? Brother Martellus explains

Why is Michael Bennett a great fit for Patriots? Brother Martellus explains

How will Michael Bennett adapt to life with the New England Patriots?

Let's ask the person who knows him best.

Michael's brother, former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, returned to Boston this week to visit local schools and libraries and promote his new book, "Dear Black Boy."

During media session Wednesday at Boston Public Library's Dorchester branch, Martellus was asked how he sees his defensive end brother fitting in with head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

His answer: quite well.

"Bill will have a lot of fun with the things he’s capable of," Martellus said, via the Boston Herald. "I think Mike will have a lot of fun because Bill will put him in the position to succeed, as well."

"I think Michael created that position that he plays, the Trey Flowers position. That position wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Michael. Michael was like the pioneer of that space — go inside, play outside, being able to do it on left and right. You don’t know where he’s going to line up at.

"When they gameplan to block somebody, you can go a lot of different ways to open up gaps for other people to rush, too. I think versatility as a player on the Patriots is what they want the most. And that versatility right there, they’re going to have a lot of fun scheming with Michael."

The three-time Pro Bowler tallied nine sacks last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, so his reputation as a nightmare for offensive lines is still intact. And while Trey Flowers leaves a massive void, Bennett has the pedigree and versatility to help fill it.

As for Martellus? The retired tight end flirted with the idea of reuniting with his brother before insisting his NFL days are done. But...

"You never know, though," he said Wednesday. "I stay in shape, so one day I might wake up and be like, ‘F— it.’ Back half of the season. Second half, last six games before playoffs."

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