Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Martellus Bennett admits struggling in Dallas
By Calvin Watkins
Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett inked a four-year $20 million deal with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday afternoon. The Texas A&M alum has come a long way since his rookie year with the Cowboys.
Bennett endured four difficult years in Dallas, especially at the start when he was chastised by then-tight ends coach John Garrett for making a joke with reporters regarding a former girlfriend of quarterback Tony Romo.
He was fined an undisclosed sum for making a rap song and a YouTube video that some deemed offensive.
Oh yeah, on the field, Bennett caught four touchdown passes his rookie year but didn't score the next three seasons.
Bennett voiced his frustration about his role in Dallas and when he became a free agent, signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants last season. He caught five touchdown passes and was targeted a career-high 90 times.
Now he's with the Bears and is considered an important part of their offense.
Wednesday, Bennett was asked about his time with the Cowboys and offered an interesting response.
"I think early in my career, it’s no secret that I struggled earlier in my career," Bennett said. "But it wasn’t because of my ability or being able to make plays. It was more attitude. I think I never accepted my role in Dallas and I always was fighting with what my role was instead of just accepting
it. I did kind of accept it because I became one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, which was my role there. It’s helped me out throughout my whole career. I was a blocking guy down there. Really it just added some perspective for me."
Bennett was the backup to Jason Witten, considered one of the best tight ends in the league. In New York, due to injuries, Bennett was needed to become No. 1 on the depth chart.
The Bears wanted the all-around Bennett, who not only is a good blocker but an excellent receiver.
"I didn’t want to be the second guy (in Dallas)," he said. "I never want to be second. I finally got a chance to be the No. 1 guy, and I was able to make huge strides in being able to play and make plays. I think this is the next step for us up and I’m excited about it."
In some ways Bennett was doomed to fail with the Cowboys for several reasons. The team didn't know how to use him on the field or talk with him away from it. Garrett made efforts, he attended a charity event of Bennett's during the lockout a few years ago.
But Bennett needed a fresh start somewhere to grow not only as a player but as a person.