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Thursday, July 26, 2012
Updated: July 27, 11:49 AM ET
Martellus Bennett ready for Cowboys

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

ALBANY, N.Y. -- On his first day at training camp, Martellus Bennett expressed his hatred for the Dallas Cowboys ... and everybody else who isn't a Giant.

Looks like the former Cowboys tight end will fit in just fine with the New York Giants.

"I just want to kick those guys' asses," Bennett said shortly after arriving at camp, when he was asked about playing the Cowboys. "That is what it is all about. I mean we are cool but we ain't that cool, know what I am saying? I kind of got some ill feelings towards them overall. It is a game, I kind of hate everybody, honestly, in the NFL."

Later, Bennett clarified: "I have ill feelings toward everybody. It is not just Dallas. Pretty much anybody who doesn't play with us, I pretty much don't like 'em. I don't like a lot of people. I am kind of an (expletive) but it is cool."

Even though the Giants lost one of their biggest Cowboys haters in Brandon Jacobs, the defending champions apparently have found another in Bennett to spice up the NFC East rivalry.

The Giants have yet to go through their first practice, which is Friday, but Bennett already was focused on playing his former team in the NFL season opener.

The former Cowboy signed with the Giants this offseason in hopes of becoming Eli Manning's new tight end. The Giants made him a priority after Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum tore their ACLs in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots.

After serving as Jason Witten's backup in Dallas, Bennett is eager to show he can fulfill his vast potential with the Giants. He will compete against Bear Pascoe, Adrien Robinson, Christian Hopkins and Beckum at tight end.

"Who's better to learn behind than Witten?" Bennett said of being the understudy in Dallas. "He is one of the best to ever do it. I learned a lot from him. Every once in a while, plants can't really grow when they are out-shaded by the tall tree. So I get a little sunlight for myself now."

The light will be shining brightly on the Giants as the defending champions. Every team will be gunning for the Giants, starting with the Cowboys on Sept. 5.

Bennett says he will be ready. He said he made weight after the Giants said he weighed at 290 pounds during the offseason.

"The thing that people don't realize is that I didn't run for five weeks and I was lifting weights," said Bennett, who missed some time during OTA's and minicamp because of a hamstring injury. "So I kind of bulked up and I am back down. I have no worries."

Bennett had four touchdowns during his rookie season in 2008, but has not caught a touchdown pass since. He had a career-high 33 receptions for 260 yards in 2010, but just 17 receptions for 144 yards last year while backing up Witten.

"I kind of sound like Gandhi right now, but I studied myself a lot over the last couple of years," Bennett said with a chuckle. "Just the way I approached things and the way I went about things when I was in Dallas. I made a lot of improvements."

"For me it was never an issue with playing ability or being able to make plays," he continued. "It really is about being happy and being at peace with myself. I am at peace with myself. I am not at peace with everybody else. I have never been this hungry or this enthused about going to camp."

So even though he enjoyed his time in Dallas, Bennett said the Cowboys are now the enemy, along with the rest of the NFL. And he can hardly wait to show Dallas and the rest of the league what he is capable of.

"I got everybody's date marked on my calendar," he said. "I am kind of pissed off about a whole lot. So I think it will be a good year for me."