Just last week, the Green Bay Packers cut tight end Martellus Bennett for “failure to disclose a medical condition” that they claimed was pre-existing. What followed was a he-said, she-said series of public comments as the two sides sparred over a) exactly when Bennett’s shoulder injury occurred and b) how severe it was.
Just days after the Packers cut him loose, he was snapped up by the New England Patriots. Not only that, but he played on Sunday night — strange for a player that was supposedly in need of shoulder surgery seven days ago. He only played seven snaps, and caught three passes for 38-yards. But still, what the heck is going on?
Bennett was vocal on social media last week, claiming the Packers and their doctors were urging him to play through a shoulder injury rather than allow him to have surgery to correct it. He claims the team knew his shoulder was bothering him when they originally signed him, and that the condition has worsened as the season progressed. The Packers obviously disagreed with that version of events, and told Bennett to hit the road.
Former Green Bay tight end Tom Crabtree had plenty to say on Twitter:
If you ever thought a team/front office/coach gave a shit about a player’s character, see the Patriots letting the fraud @MartysaurusRex suit up and play tonight. Quit and lied in Green Bay days ago, now signed and playing in New England.
— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) November 13, 2017
He wasn’t the only one to question the seriousness of Bennett’s injury:
Bennett isn't even wearing a shoulder harness which is typical if you have a severe shoulder injury. ?
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 13, 2017
When asked about the injury after New England’s beat down of the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, Bennett attempted to explain how he ended up in uniform instead of in surgery.
“It’s not about, ‘Could you play?’ It’s, ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things,” Bennett told The Boston Herald. “Right now, I’m just like, f**k it. At first, I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. So when Bill (Belichick) called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No f**king way.’ ”
Martellus Bennett on Packers cutting him and decision to play for Pats: "After trying to get (shoulder) fixed and getting waived, you get that vengeance in your heart and you say 'fuck it, let's go ball.'"
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) November 13, 2017
So was Bennett faking his injury with the Packers or is he playing through with the Patriots? Maybe the thought of playing for a 5-4 Packers team without Aaron Rodgers was enough to make Bennett want out, especially when catching passes for Tom Brady and the 7-2 Pats is much more appealing.
Ian Rapoport claims that Green Bay is attempting to recoup the signing bonus they paid Bennett in the off-season, on the grounds that he didn’t inform the team about the injury. Bennett claims the team was fully informed.