Martellus Bennett at center of Bears’ practice scuffle
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com August 2, 2013 7:34PM
Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) catches a pass during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 27, 2013, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: September 4, 2013 6:16AM
BOURBONNAIS — Tight end Martellus Bennett simply had enough, and so did a few of the Bears’ defensive backs. A steamy, rain-delayed practice provided the appropriate setting.
Bennett’s run-ins with safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright and nickel back Kelvin Hayden highlighted the most physical practice of training camp.
The biggest was the bench-clearing scuffle that broke out after Hayden tackled Bennett, and Bennett responded in kind. Things got so intense that Bennett had to step away after getting into it with Wright not long after the Hayden scrum.
“I stepped out for a second,” Bennett said. “It’s practice. That’s what we’re here for. Everybody is aggressive; everybody is a little tired; everybody is a little sore. Guys do something you don’t like, you just react. I’m an aggressive player; I will never stop being one. I’m a blue-collar player, and that’s what I always will be, and I enjoy playing like that.”
Bennett said he “turned into game mode” but didn’t throw any punches.
The scuffles could’ve been a few days in the making, with Bennett gradually having more and more success in team and one-on-one drills. Bennett’s blend of size, speed and athleticism makes him a formidable opponent for any player.
“I doubt it was personal, just part of the game,” Bennett said. “We got one-on-ones all day. I’m not really losing any battles right now so . . . I ain’t trippin’.”
Coach Marc Trestman said he didn’t think anything “festered” or “lingered.” He also expected his players to put everything that took place behind them.
“It’s going to happen in a game where somebody’s going to lose their mind,” Trestman said. “When one guy does, it’s not who he is. He just lost his composure for a minute. The team’s gotta bring him along.”
But it was the first real glimpse of the aggressive side the amiable Bennett has in him.
“You come hard at me; I come hard at you,” Bennett said. “I don’t back down for anything, anyone.”
Trestman said Bennett stood up after practice and “handled himself with great dignity and showed his teammates a lot of respect.”
Conte and Wright also didn’t think the scrums were a big deal.
“We’re family and brothers — brothers sometimes fight,” Conte said.
Wright thought players were more physical overall Friday than in previous practices.
“It gets everybody riled up,” Wright said. “It gets everybody going. Even if you were not having a good day, that kind of gets you going. . . . Today was a good day other than that little scuffle. But that happens. We’ll move on and get better.”