Michael Bennett was back in town, if not on the field, as the Seahawks began their three-day minicamp Tuesday.
Michael Bennett’s ankle is a little sore. So while he keeps his game under wraps for the next few days, his plan instead is to leave everyone else in stitches.
“I’ll be a standup comedian for the rest of the week,’’ said Bennett as he met the Seattle media following the first of the Seahawks’ three mini-camp practices this week.
Bennett said he hurt his ankle working out. Coach Pete Carroll said he’s not too worried about it. And one gets the feeling that if it were the regular season, Bennett would be playing.
The bigger statement Bennett made Tuesday was simply showing up for the mini-camp.
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Bennett had last been seen on a football field in February, when he won the defensive MVP award for the Pro Bowl.
He skipped Seattle’s voluntary OTA sessions the last three weeks, letting it be known that he remains unhappy with his contract, a four-year deal worth $28.5 million that he signed in March, 2014.
But Bennett had said on several occasions in recent weeks that he didn’t plan to hold out (and undoubtedly, he also wanted to avoid the possibility of being fined as much as $76,580 for skipping the mandatory mini-camp — there is no financial penalty for sitting out OTAs).
And while Bennett might like a new contract, he also seems resigned to the fact that for now, the Seahawks are sticking to their principle of not redoing contracts that have more than a year remaining — Bennett’s runs through the 2017 season.
Asked if it was a tough decision to show up for mini-camp, Bennett said “nah, not really. I just want to be a great teammate, show up, show my support, do everything I need to do so we can get back to the Super Bowl. I’m very motivated to get back to the Super Bowl. Obviously it’s in my hometown (Houston). Me and my brother (New England tight end Martellus Bennett) that’s all we talk about. That’s all it’s about.’’
What Bennett says he is trying to avoid is worrying much about his contract.
“I mean, it’s not, it’s up to the organization what they do,’’ he said. “I just want to be a great teammate and a great player.”
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what’s out there.
Bennett’s main gripe is that he has outplayed his contract.
Bennett is asked to play both tackle and end in Seattle’s scheme and has seen his playing time increase markedly the last two seasons from what it was in his last season before his new deal (he played 81 percent of snaps in 2015 compared to 57 percent in 2013). But he ranks just 28th in average salary per year among defensive linemen, and this week saw Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox sign a new contract worth a total of $103 million over six years.
Asked if he’s a $100 million player, Bennett said: “Of course I am. If you look at the stats of those guys that have been what they have done the last couple of years, I’m at the top of the list in every statistical category — if you look at tackles for loss, hurries, games played, positions played. It speaks for itself.”
But for now, Bennett knows there’s not much he can do but show up, play well, and hope that a new contract will come down the road.
“I pay more attention to things like Donald Trump and stuff like that,’’ Bennett said. “Political campaigns going on right now, different things going on around the world. People eating too much beef, stuff like that. So I don’t really pay attention to too many contracts. It can make your stomach hurt. It’s like seeing your favorite girlfriend get married to somebody else.”
IN OTHER NOTES ….
- DE Chris Clemons, who also sat out most of the OTAs, was also back. Asked about Clemons, Carroll said: “Well, we’ve just got to see. That was just one real day. He has had a couple days of OTAs and Clem’s is a really savvy football player. I am hoping that he is going to add a lot to our guys. I don’t think that Frank (Clark) could get a better guy to learn from and to watch. The kinds of things that Clem did in our program we are still looking for in our program now. I am hoping he will be a big factor for us. He’s got to get in shape, get ready and all that stuff. It is going to be awhile before we can figure out how he will fit in, but he has a lot of great qualities about him, we love having him back on the team.”
- OL J’Marcus Webb did some work as he recovers from a calf injury though Terry Poole continued to get most of the reps at right tackle.
- RB C.J. Prosise did some individual work but not team drills after having been out most of OTAs with a hip flexor.
- WR Kenny Lawler remains out with what Carroll said is a hyperextended knee.
- WR Paul Richardson was held out of some of the late drills after Carroll said he “tightened up.’’ But Richardson talked to media afterward and said he feels in good shape and Carroll also raved about his off-season so far.
- LT Garry Gilliam remains out after having surgery a few weeks ago to remove a cyst on his knee. But Carroll said he’s close to being recovered and that if it were the regular season he’d likely be out there.
- CB Tye Smith was also out with an unspecified injury.
Here were how the lineups looked when the Seahawks went through their final 11-on-11 phase.
Offense: QB Russell Wilson, RB Christine Michael, FB Tre Madden, TE Luke Willson, WRs Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, LT Bradley Sowell, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi, RT Terry Poole (Webb, as noted, also did some work today at RT but it was largely Poole in the team drills).
Defense: DEs Cliff Avril, Quinton Jefferson, DTs Athyba Rubin, Jarran Reed. MLB Bobby Wagner, SLB Mike Morgan, WLB K.J.Wright, SS Kam Chancellor, FS Earl Thomas, CBs Jeremy Lane, Richard Sherman (in the nickel it was DeShawn Shead coming in and Lane moving inside with Frank Clark coming in as a rush end).
No. 2 offense:QB Trevone Boykin, RB Alex Collins, FB Taniela Tupou, WRs Doug McNeil, Kasen Williams, Kevin Smith (with Richardson limited by that point of practice), TE Nick Vannett, LT George Fant, LG Rees Odhiambo, C Patrick Lewis, RG Will Pericak, RT Terry Poole.
No. 2 defense: DE Ryan Robinson, Tavaris Barns, DL Sealver Siliga, Jordan Hill, MLB Brock Coyle, SLB Cassius Marsh, WLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, CBs Tharold Simon, Marcus Burley, Safeties Brandon Browner, Kelcie McCray.
Jake Heaps was the quarterback for the No. 3 offense.