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Friday, August 8, 2014
Martellus Bennett's status up in air

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett did not participate in Friday night's 34-28 preseason-opening win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field, and coach Marc Trestman said it's undecided whether he'll be back with the team Sunday when it resumes training camp.

"I can't say that. It has not been decided one way or the other," Trestman said. "We'll continue to get focused a little bit on that over the next 24 hours, and certainly I'll let you know on Sunday where we are."

Suspended indefinitely and fined an unspecified amount, Bennett has not been with the team since Monday night, when the Bears made the decision to discipline him.

In his absence, the club's reserve tight ends received extra repetitions Friday night. Fifth-year veteran Zach Miller capitalized on the added snaps, catching a game-high six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Dante Rosario and Jeron Mastrud combined for four catches for 44 yards.

Trestman said those performances will have no bearing on how the team proceeds with Bennett.

"I think these are completely two independent issues that have nothing to do with each other," he said. "What we've talked about regarding Martellus hasn't changed. We're looking forward to getting him back as soon as it's the right time. We'll continue to address that each and every day. We'll continue to evaluate the guys who played at the tight end position tonight."

A seventh-year veteran, Bennett was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after he was involved in a fight with rookie first-round pick Kyle Fuller during a training camp practice, in which he slammed the cornerback to the ground after a routine play.

Sources believed the suspension wasn't solely the result of the confrontation with Fuller nor Bennett's flippant response in the aftermath, in which he said, "I can afford it" when asked if he expected to be fined by the team.

The sources described Bennett's discipline as a response to an accumulation of transgressions.

During organized team activities at Halas Hall back in June, Bennett had to be restrained in an incident that involved offensive tackle Jordan Mills and defensive end Lamarr Houston. After that fight, Bennett slammed his helmet to the ground and yelled at teammates.

Bennett later posted on Twitter: "I go hard every [f-----] day. No doubt about that. Not a single ounce of [b----] in me."

The club hasn't indicated when it plans to allow Bennett to rejoin his teammates, but Trestman and general manager Phil Emery have said the tight end must go through "a process" before he's allowed to return to the field.