Michael Bennett leaves Seattle as one of the franchise's best defensive linemen and one of its most fascinating personalities. These five moments defined Bennett, the player, and Bennett, the person.
Michael Bennett stirred strong emotions during his five years with the Seahawks and didn’t much care what you thought as he did.
But whatever you did think of him, what can’t be questioned is that he was one of the best defensive linemen in team history and also one of its most entertaining. Simply put, things were rarely boring with Bennett.
With Bennett now an ex-Seahawk, having been traded Wednesday to the Eagles, here is a look at five of his most memorable Seahawks moments.
1. Bennett’s bike ride
It was pretty much quintessential Michael Bennett when he grabbed a police officer’s bike following Seattle’s startling comeback win over Green Bay in the 2015 NFC title game and embarked on a joyride around CenturyLink Field. It was alternately celebratory and defiant and came equipped with a quip. “I just took it,’’ he said later. “When you win a Super Bowl, you can do anything in this city.” The bike was later auctioned off for charity for $10,000.
2. Sack dance du jour
The Carroll-era Seahawks are (were?) full of personality, which on defense often was best illustrated in their sack dances with Bennett at the forefront of the sometimes fine-worthy creativity.
Bennett had all manner of names for his dance, which generally consisted of a few hip thrusts with his hands tucked behind his helmet.
If there was a true beginning to his dances with the Seahawks it came after he returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Saints in 2013.
“I would describe it as two angels dancing while chocolate is coming from the heavens on a nice Sunday morning,’’ he said later.
3. The touchdown against the Saints
Defensive linemen don’t often reach the end zone — Bennett has done it just once in his NFL career. But he picked a good time for it, snatching in the air a fumble by New Orleans’ QB Drew Brees in a Monday night game in 2013, a fumble that had been forced by his good friend Cliff Avril, and returning it 22 yards for a touchdown. The TD — which put Seattle up 10-0 — sparked a 34-7 win in one of Seattle’s most dominating performances in what was the best season in franchise history and led to the dance listed above.
More importantly, it was the kind of play that made clear — while illustrating clearly why — that for a year, the Seahawks really were the best team in football.
4. A Saintly forced fumble
There’s beginning to be a New Orleans theme to this. But one of Bennett’s biggest plays in terms of its importance — a play that has been memorialized in a big picture in a hallway at the team’s training facility in Renton — came when he forced a fumble of Saints running back Mark Ingram early in a divisional playoff game against New Orleans in 2014 — about five weeks following Seattle’s blowout win in at CenturyLink.
Seattle led just 6-0 at the time — the fumble occurred on the first play of the second quarter — but the Seahawks would lead 13-0 two plays later thanks to a Marshawn Lynch TD run and Seattle was off and running to an eventual 23-15 win.
5. A Pro Bowl MVP
Not that anyone cares much about the Pro Bowl. But in 2016, with Seattle missing the Super Bowl for the first time in three years, it was at least sort of fun to see Bennett and Russell Wilson share honors as MVP — Bennett for defense and Wilson offense.
But in typical Bennett fashion, Bennett’s award didn’t come without a little flair and controversy. In the final seconds Bennett lined up alongside Wilson in the backfield, taking a direct snap and rumbling 57 yards for an apparent touchdown. Only, the officials ruled that the whistle had blown and Bennett got credit for only a seven-yard run. Not that anyone really was bothered too much one way or the other. Bennett was greeted in the end zone by fellow Seahawk Richard Sherman, who bowed down in mocking awe.