Martellus Bennett slams rookie to turf
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman cut practice short Monday following a heated, physical altercation between veteran tight end Martellus Bennett and first-round draft choice Kyle Fuller during a red-zone drill.
The issue arose when Fuller attempted to strip the football away from Bennett after the tight end made a catch close to the line of scrimmage. Instead of knocking the ball loose, Fuller instead hooked the front of Bennett's shoulder pads, causing Bennett to fall to the ground.
Bennett immediately got to his feet and attacked Fuller and slammed the first-year cornerback to the ground. It took several minutes for Bennett to calm down as multiple teammates such as Matt Forte and Lamarr Houston tried to intervene.
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Bennett got into a heated shouting match with wide receiver Brandon Marshall before order was finally restored.
"I come to training camp for one reason and that's to prepare to win a championship," Bennett said later at lunch. "I play hard and go hard every single day. I'm probably one of the most violent people on the field. That's just my style of play. I'm going to continue to play the same way I always play. That's what I'm here for.
"Everybody talks about friendships, but really we are all preparing to win a championship. If we make friends along the way, cool. But I'm just trying to help the Bears win a championship and do the job to the best of my ability.
"It's practice. Practice is practice. I know I sound like Allen Iverson right now, but it's practice. [Expletive] happens at practice. You learn from it. That's why it's practice."
Fuller maintained he simply meant to strip the ball from Bennett.
"We do emphasize stripping the ball on every play regardless of the situation, and so sometimes things do happen and do get heated and we learn from it," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "We've got a great bunch of guys here. Guys are very competitive and sometimes things do happen. But this team has always been able to move on to the next play and that's what we're going to do today."
Trestman and Marshall both addressed the team at the end of the practice session. Trestman declined to say whether Bennett would be subject to any disciplinary measures, but the tight end did not sound concerned.
"I can afford it," Bennett said. "I'm not sure what he'll fine me for on that."
Bennett signed a four-year, $20.4 million contract with the Bears in 2013. He finished last year with a career-high 65 catches for 759 yards and five touchdowns.