Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead

Martellus Bennett will return to Patriots after Packers waived him

By Des Bieler, Marissa Payne

November 9, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Martellus Bennett and Tom Brady will be reunited. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports/)

It took less than a day for veteran tight end Martellus Bennett to find a new job. The 30-year-old player, waived by the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, was claimed by the New England Patriots on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later reported the news, citing sources. And the Patriots made it official a short time later.

The move will put Bennett back in familiar territory. He played in all 16 regular season games with the Patriots last season, culminating in a winning Super Bowl appearance that saw him gain 62 yards on five catches in what ended up being a historic game, won by the Patriots, 34-28, over the Atlanta Falcons.

That Bennett will have a place to play the final games of the 2017 season is a welcome relief to his fans, who he informed late last month that this could be his final NFL season.

Green Bay reportedly waived Bennett with a designation of having failed to disclose a medical condition. That could allow the team to try to recoup about $4.2 million, which would be the prorated portion still left on the $6.3 million signing bonus the Packers gave him this year in free agency as part of a three-year, $21 million contract.

The medical condition reportedly cited by the Packers was a shoulder injury that kept Bennett out of Monday night’s loss to the Lions. The 10th-year player was already ruled out of Green Bay’s upcoming game Sunday, which had been viewed as an unusual move this early in the week.

“This is a clear issue of the Packers and Martellus Bennett not being on the same page, really from A to Z,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Wednesday. He added that Bennett “disputes the notion that he hid anything” in terms of an injury.

Known for an unusually diverse array of interests, Bennett is a children’s book author and has a company, The Imagination Agency, that describes itself as “a wondrous group of monsters and imaginary friends tasked with creating, drawing, writing and imaginating fantastical adventures for kids all over the world.” The brother of Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who has sat on the bench during the national anthem before Seattle’s games this year, he shares his sibling’s penchant for outspoken social commentary.

Bennett began his career with the Dallas Cowboys before spending a year with the New York Giants then three with the Bears in Chicago, where he still lives. A 2014 Pro Bowl choice, Bennett has 427 catches for 4,520 yards and 30 touchdowns in 142 career games.

However, Bennett struggled to click with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, catching 20 passes for 194 yards and no touchdowns before Green Bay’s most important player suffered a broken collarbone in Week 6. Bennett caught two passes for 17 yards from Rodgers’s replacement, Brett Hundley, then revealed his thoughts about possible retirement during the team’s Week 8 bye.

“After conversations with my family I’m pretty sure these next eight games will be the conclusion of my NFL career,” Bennett wrote on Instagram. “To everyone who has poured themselves and time into my life and career. These next games are for you. Thank you.”

While the Patriots have gained a familiar face, Bennett’s departure leaves the Packers with two tight ends, Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers, on their roster.

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Des writes for the Early Lead and the D.C. Sports Bog, scouring the Web to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. He also covers fantasy football, as well as fitness topics for the MisFits.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, a.k.a. “mostly the fun stuff.”

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