Until today, Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett had been silent since a Twitter report last month stated that he was unhappy with his contract in Seattle and wanted to be traded to Atlanta.
Bennett, though, made an apparently surprise appearance this morning on 710 ESPN Seattle, the team’s flagship radio station, on the Justin and Gee Show (listen here).
And during the interview, Bennett denied he had asked for a trade, said he wouldn’t believe anything written about him and also said he still holds some of the same feelings he earlier expressed about new teammate Jimmy Graham.
Asked about the rumors of wanting out of Seattle, the never-afraid-to-say-what’s-on-his-mind Bennett said “man, like I said, they made rumors about Jesus, they’ll make rumors about anybody.”
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Later, asked specifically about the trade part of the rumor, Bennett said: “I never asked for it. I didn’t come to them asking for a trade. I’m still trying to figure out how a guy from Dallas (the report came from Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Clarence Hill) can make up a story about me, I’m living in Seattle. I’m like how does that happen? I’m in Hawaii surfing, got the kids surfing in the ocean and they are talking about something else.”
Asked if everything is good between himself and the Seahawks, Bennett said: “Everything is good. I mean, we’ve been talking. I don’t know what the problem is there. Still trying to figure out what happened.”
That Bennett says “we’ve been talking” could be taken as meaning he has talked to the Seahawks about his contract, which has three years remaining. But he was not specifically asked about his contract in the interview. There have been reports that Bennett has approached the team about redoing the four-year $28.5 million deal he signed in March, 2014. But the Seahawks have a well-publicized stance against redoing deals with more than a year.
Bennett, addressing some of what has been written, said “for me, I wouldn’t read it because whatever they say about me is a lie.”
Bennett was also asked about the team’s trade for Graham, who he famously labeled “soft” and “overrated” following a playoff game in 2014.
“I still feel the same way,” Bennett said. “Just because he’s on my team I don’t stop feeling that way. Obviously I’m going to be a better teammate to him because he’s on my team. I can’t do the things I was doing to him when we were playing him. But obviously when he comes to our team he’s a part of our team so we have a different philosophy than they had with the Saints so the things he was expected to do with the Saints are going to be different when he comes here. Obviously we are a running team so he is going to have to block and do all those things. I don’t feel as harsh as I did at the time because he’s my teammate now. But at the time he was on the opposite team and were pretty good and we battled with him a couple of times and I didn’t really like that team.”
Bennett also talked about some of his off-season plans and an upcoming event he is involved with fighting obesity (details here).
Bennett and the rest of the Seahawks will begin the team’s official off-season training program April 20.