Clinton-Dix: Martellus Bennett quit on us
If the Packers accomplish what a couple of weeks ago would have seemed to be unthinkable -- staying in the playoff hunt with Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan at quarterback until Aaron Rodgers returns to clinch a berth -- maybe they can point to the moment Martellus Bennett forced his way out as the thing that brought them together.
“I think it definitely has the power to galvanize a locker room,” linebacker Clay Matthews said this week regarding the defection of Bennett, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. “Because it shows you -- especially going through difficult times -- it shows you who’s in and who isn’t. We’ll obviously discover that more and more as the season goes on dealing with our starting quarterback being hurt and having a few losses. But you’re absolutely right: It brings guys together, like a refocus. It lets you know, ‘All right, get rid of the dead weight, and let’s focus on our locker room.’”
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix minced no words regarding Bennett’s departure.
“Me, personally? I thought he quit on us,” Clinton-Dix said. “I don’t fault him, but I did think he quit on us. He let us down -- as a teammate. For a guy that came in, of his caliber, his leadership quote-unquote, I expected more from him. I held him to a higher standard, me personally. But he handled it the way he wanted to handle it.”
It seemed fairly obvious that Bennett decided to tap out once Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, musing about retirement before citing a desire to have season-ending shoulder surgery instead of playing through a shoulder injury. Once released by the Packers and claimed on waivers by the Patriots, Bennett resumed playing.
“I honestly think winning on Sunday [against the Bears] gave us a motivation to go out every week and compete,” Clinton-Dix said. “That was the hump we needed to get over -- winning a game, first and foremost. That Marty stuff, I’m glad we got it out of the way. It’s time to move on.”
The Packers move on with a 5-4 record and a schedule that points possibly to an 8-6 record entering the final two games, a rematch against the Vikings and Lions to end the season.