Bears’ Martellus Bennett talks, plays a big game
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com | @MorrisseyCST September 9, 2013 10:03PM
Updated: September 10, 2013 11:31AM
As part of a prostate cancer awareness campaign, the Bears started their Monday news conferences with a short speech by a doctor, then moved on to football and tight end Martellus Bennett, who, from what I was able to glean, isn’t licensed to practice medicine.
How nervous was he during his first game as a Bear?
“I was jittery till the second quarter,’’ he said. “After I caught the touchdown [in the first quarter], I needed my prostate checked.’’
(Diagnostic confusion aside, men of a certain age would agree that Bennett won’t know the true meaning of “jittery’’ until the first time he hears the snap of rubber gloves being donned.)
It’s early yet, but it seems best to step aside when Bennett gets on a roll, which is most of the time. He certainly was rolling Monday, a day after he dropped the first pass thrown his way, caught the first touchdown pass of the season for the Bears, was flagged twice for holding and threw a key block on a fourth-and-one play that helped his team beat the Bengals in the season opener.
He was just as up, down and all over the place Monday as he was in the game.
On his touchdown, he pulled down the football in the back of the end zone with Bengals safety George Iloka on him like a wetsuit. That should have been cause for celebration, right?
“I was mad because he wouldn’t let the ball go,’’ Bennett said. “We didn’t get to celebrate the way we wanted to celebrate. I was trying to make it rain. He’s holding onto the ball. Now they’re reviewing the play. I’m like, ‘Should I celebrate after the review, or is that too late?’ ”
This easily could have set off a long discussion about touchdown-review etiquette. But there wasn’t time because now Bennett was talking about pro wrestler Triple H and the People’s Elbow, a wrestling move made famous by The Rock. The guess here is that Bennett believes that pro wrestling is real, just going on the fact he calls himself “the Black Unicorn’’ because that creature is “magical.’’ I assume it’s magical both in the wild and in captivity, but I could be wrong.
This is a long-winded way of saying that Bennett is not former Bears tight end Kellen Davis, who didn’t have much to talk about other than drops.
“The real reason I talk the way I talk is because I really love Muhammad Ali, and then I was in vacation Bible school when I was like nine, and they said Jesus talked in parables,’’ Bennett said. “They said we should try to be more like Jesus. And I took it literally, and I started talking in parables all the time.’’
Speaking of miracles, is it possible the Bears finally have found someone to play this new-fangled “tight end” position? I don’t know, but it appears new coach Marc Trestman thinks so. He even used two-tight-end formations against the Bengals, which seems like showing off to most Chicagoans, like wearing two fur coats when one will do.
I sometimes wonder if there would have been this much fuss about the tight end position in Chicago if Mike Ditka (pause, genuflect) hadn’t played it. Ditka not only was very good, he was the kind of tough guy people around here love.
Bennett will have a hard time topping Ditka in terms of entertainment value, but he appears willing to try.
Will it wear thin if he doesn’t produce on the field?
“This isn’t a show,’’ Bennett said. “I’m not trying to put on an act or anything. I’m like this every single day. If I drop a ball and people don’t like me because I talk the way I talk, I can’t help that.’’
On their own Friday, Bennett and quarterback Jay Cutler had practiced the play that ended up a touchdown Sunday. It’s one of the reasons Trestman is quick to point out that there’s a lot more to the tight end than sound bites.
“He’s a meticulous note taker [in meetings], probably as much of a note taker as I’ve seen,’’ he said. “He writes down everything. Every coaching point. Everything we say in team meetings. He writes it all down.’’
Then again, he could be writing down parables.
“The days I come to practice and don’t say anything, everybody thinks I’m sick,’’ Bennett said.
Physician, heal thyself. On second thought, don’t.