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Martellus Bennett: I told to not claim me, but Patriots did anyway

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 12: Tight end Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after a 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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It’s easy for those who believe the theory that Martellus Bennett talked his way out of Green Bay, because he left enough breadcrumbs to make not just a trail, but a sandwich.

But after his return to the field with the Patriots last night, he said he had to be talked into reporting to New England. He said he told his agent to tell teams not to claim him, since he wanted to get surgery on an injured shoulder. And even after the Patriots did, he said it took a conversation with coach Bill Belichick to convince him.

“When Bill called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No [bleeping] way,’” Bennett said, via Phill Perry of NBC Sports Boston. “Then he was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And I told him . . . We had a quick conversation and I was just like, ‘Let me think about it and I’ll call you back.’

“Even then, it wasn’t like, ‘Hey, you want to come?’ It was like, ‘Let me just call you back in a few minutes. Give me a chance to think about it and regroup.’ Because I don’t even know if I went through the seven stages of grief yet. I’m probably on Step 3.

“I think the group of guys on this team couldn’t be a better place for me to, with what I’m going through right now, this situation, it couldn’t be a better place for me, all the familiar faces and friends and things like that. It’s been good to have those guys around.”

He must have felt better, since the Packers had already ruled him out last week, but he managed to get across country and prepare himself to play seven snaps last night, catching three passes for 38 yards. Asked why the shoulder allowed him to play with Tom Brady when it was too painful to with Brett Hundley, he said it was a matter of motivation.

“It wasn’t where I was, it was just about the injury,” Bennett said. “It was like one of those things, I talked to six or seven doctors about it and it could go either way. It was like one of those things I felt I should get fixed. And then after trying to get it fixed and getting waived, you just get that vengeance in your heart. It’s just like, ‘All right, that’s how you’re going to do it? Then [expletive] it. Let’s go ball.’ ”

He also knows that explanation won’t satisfy the former Packers teammates, who rode to the defense of team doctor Pat McKenzie after Bennett said he was encouraged to play hurt there

“I got criticism from all of my former organizations,” Bennett said. “I mean, [expletive]. At this point, it’s like I’m rubber and you’re glue. Anything you say bounces off me and sticks back to you . . .

“Like I told the guys, ‘In order for the Phoenix to be reborn, he must first turn to ashes.’ ”

When you quote both Greek mythology and Pee Wee Herman, you know it must be serious.