When the New England Patriots agreed to acquire Martellus Bennett in a trade with the Chicago Bears in March of 2016, all that was left to complete the deal was for the veteran tight end to pass a physical.
Taking the physical created a bit of a headache for Bennett, but not because of any injuries or something like that.
When he got the phone call from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick letting Bennett know of the trade, he said the physical had to be done quickly or the trade couldn't go through. This was an issue for Bennett because he was at Disneyland celebrating his daughter's birthday -- thousands of miles away from Foxboro.
Bennett initially was hesitant to leave Disneyland. And, honestly, who wants to leave Disneyland to go to Boston in March? He told the story of his conversation with Belichick on Wednesday's episode of Bleacher Report's "Untold Stories" with Master Tesfatsion.
“I was at Disneyland when I got the call to say I was going to be traded,” Bennett said. “So then my daughter’s birthday was around and we were going to Disneyland. Bill Belichick called me and he’s like, ‘Hey, we need you to get out here for your physical.' I’m like, ‘Well, coach. I’m at Disneyland right now. I literally cannot come.’ I’m trying to enjoy Disneyland with my family. Mickey is there, Goofy is there. Everyone is there, you know? It’s just like, these guys are great, and at the same time I’ve been traded.
“Bill called me back. He’s like, ‘Well, we got to get you out here. Otherwise, the trade won’t go through if we don’t get the physical.’ I was just kind of like, ‘Well, that sounds like a you thing.’ But then my agent called me. He was like, ‘Hey, no. You got to go. You got to go.’ I was like, ‘I can’t go tomorrow, like two days from now? Why do I got to stop my life right now to fly to (expletive) Boston to go see this (expletive) and go do an MRI for them?’ I’m here right now -- at Disney for crying out loud.”
The move that finally made Bennett leave Disney and fly to Boston for the physical was a call from then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. You can't say no to the GOAT, right?
“But then Tom calls me, and he was like, ‘Man, I’m so excited about getting you out here,'” Bennett said. “I was just kind of like, ‘Yes, but Tom, do I have to go out there right now because I feel like they’re kind of making (expletive) up right now? I don’t know how this goes. Like, do I have to come?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, bud. You kind of have to go do that right now.’ I was like, ‘All right.'”
Leaving your family is tough, especially in the offseason when players can finally spend a lot of time with them, but the trade proved to be a key moment in Bennett's career.
He tallied 55 receptions for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns to help lead the Patriots to a 14-2 regular season record. They ultimately won Super Bowl LI over the Atlanta Falcons despite trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter. Bennett caught five passes for 62 yards in that Super Bowl, and he drew a pass interference in overtime that set up James White's Lombardi Trophy-winning touchdown run.
Bennett called that season with the Patriots "the most fun I ever had playing football."
Bennett signed with the Packers as a free agent before the 2017 season and then returned to the Patriots for two games after he was waived by Green Bay. He retired in 2018.