First things first for Michael Bennett: He has to figure out whether or not he wants to keep playing football. He’s 34 and 11 seasons into his NFL career. He’s won a Super Bowl and been named to the Pro Bowl three times. He doesn’t have anything left that he needs to prove and could easily decide that he doesn’t want to put his body through another year of football.
That’s what he and his wife Pele are currently mulling over this offseason. They were the latest guests to appear on the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast. In addition to promoting their new podcast called “Mouthpeace,” the Bennett’s discussed whether they’d be open to returning to Seattle.
Marshawn Lynch ran it back with the Seahawks at the end of the 2019 season. Bennett, Bruce Irvin and Paul Richardson are among the candidates who could do the same in 2020.
“Oh man,” Bennett paused when I asked if a reunion is possible. “I’ll give that to Pele. Answer that question Pele.”
Pele was quick to quip back.
“I’m really looking at him wondering what he’s going to say,” she said. “I don’t have an answer.”
Bennett finally indulged.
“I think it could be good,” he said. “It’s always good to have a good veteran defender that can help young guys. A lot of guys have skill in the NFL, but a lot of them don’t know how to study tape. Having a guy who knows how to study and could bring in some veteran leadership to go along with some great young talent, I would always think that’s a good idea.”
To avoid any gray area, Bennett said it would be a “hard yes” that he’d like to return to the Seahawks if he ultimately decided to continue playing in 2020.
“I would love to end my career in Seattle,” he said. “It’s not up to you, though. It’s up to the team.”
Bennett spent five years in Seattle from 2013-17 and was a major piece in the franchises lone Super Bowl win in 2013. He racked up 39 sacks during that span and made all three of his Pro Bowls as a member of the Seahawks.
He obviously understands the business side of the sport. He was traded in 2018 to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round pick and has since played for the Patriots and Cowboys. Any potential deal with the Seahawks this offseason wouldn’t come until the rest of the market shakes out.
But if Seattle dishes out a mega contract to Jadeveon Clowney, another top edge rusher or an elite offensive tackle, Bennett might be a perfect fit, both at a position of need and with what would likely be a cap-friendly deal (he made less than $3 million last season).
Bennett posted 6.5 sacks in 2019 in 15 games split between the Patriots and Cowboys, a number that would have led the Seahawks. He had 9.0 with the Eagles the year before that. He’s obviously not the player he once was, but he could still contribute as part of a rotation along the defensive line. That’s before you get to the leadership components that Bennett mentioned earlier.
He made it clear that he cherished his time with the Seahawks and is proud of what he and his teammates accomplished. Bennett explained how that team made such a concerted effort to get involved with the “nitty gritty” of the Seattle community.
“That team was not only a great team on the field, but off the field was amazing,” he said. “From the things Doug Baldwin did with congress, with Richard Sherman giving back, the Seattle Children’s Hospital with Russ, the things Cliff does with juvenile diabetes, the things we call did within the community.
“I think that’s why we’re so legendary. I don’t think another group of men in sports history, particularly in Seattle, has ever done so much in the community in every single facet.”
His personal life was shaped in Seattle as well as he got married and had his first daughter while playing in the Pacific Northwest.
“My time in Seattle was great because I didn’t just grow as a player, I grew as a man, and I grew as an individual. I could never say anything bad about Seattle,” Bennett said. “I feel like Seattle was such a great part of my life. I’m so thankful for the city.”