The penalty seemed needless and silly, coming as it did late in the Green Bay Packers’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
But, for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, tight end Martellus Bennett’s shove of linebacker K.J. Wright after his collision with Rodgers as he ran for a first down, was highly symbolic.
“Those are moments you take with you for a long time,” Rodgers told reporters (via Packers.com). “I love Marty for doing that.”
Bennett, who joined the Packers as a free agent after spending last season in New England, drew a 15-yard penalty for shoving Wright with both hands. Although Wright’s hit on Rodgers as he dived for the first down seemed fairly benign, Bennett wanted to send a message.
“It’s my quarterback,” Bennett said. “I’ve always got his back. It’s a bad penalty at that moment in time, but I thought it was a cheap shot. I saw him out of my peripheral, which isn’t the best all the time. I always protect the quarterback. I’ll never let anybody take a cheap shot on my guy. That’s any guy on the team. I’ve got everybody’s back.”
The penalty came with a little over three minutes left in the game and, two plays later, Rodgers rolled out and hit Bennett for a 26-yard gain and a first down that essentially wrapped up the Packers’ 17-9 victory.
“It meant a lot to me, it really did,” Rodgers said. “Any time your teammates do something like that, it’s special.”
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