A healthy bit of ribbing from new Patriot Martellus Bennett
If you have visions of Martellus Bennett being a Monster from the Midway, he has a different vision for you. A flowery vision.
When the Patriots’ new tight end was asked if was shocked he was traded by the Chicago Bears Wednesday or whether he saw the writing on the wall, he had a bit of a surprise answer.
“I knew it was a possibility,” he said, “so I just didn’t know where or when or how it was going to happen. I knew the possibility was coming. Just like any other thing in life, you prepare to make sure you flow where the wind goes, try to be a dandelion.”
The response offered a glimpse into Bennett’s personality, one that is as big as his 6-foot-7-inch, 273-pound frame.
He raised a few more eyebrows and evoked some chuckles when he was asked about the health of his ribs, which contributed to him being placed on injured reserve in December.
“I’m healthy,’’ he deadpanned. “I prefer my ribs barbecued.’’
Though rumors persisted he had warn out his welcome in Chicago — he scuffled with a teammate in 2014, skipped offseason workouts in 2015, and questioned his role in the offense during the season — Bennett had a different take.
“I don’t think it didn’t work out in Chicago,” he said. “I thought I played very well in Chicago. I put up great numbers, did some great things, made my first Pro Bowl there. I mean, statistically, I thought it was a great job.”
Asked if the Bears believed he didn’t fit into their plans, Bennett said, “You’d have to ask them.
“We were cool. I think it’s just time for change. I don’t take it personal. I’m all about the future so I’m a progressive person.’’
With Bennett in the fold, the Patriots offense is sure to be progressive, too.
New England now has bookend tight ends who excel as pass catchers and blockers, and Bennett said he’s excited to work in tandem with Rob Gronkowski.
“I think Gronk has always been an awesome tight end and I look forward to learning more about him,’’ said Bennett. “I think the one thing that we both love to do is run with the ball in our hands, and I think for the last couple of years me and him have both been the best at that.
“He does a lot of good things. You just look at his numbers, making big plays, to showing up every week, always being reliable for Tom [Brady] and I’m just trying to come in and do the same thing.’’
Bennett, who is entering the final year of his contract, said he hasn’t been focused on earning an extension with the Patriots.
“That’s between them and my agent,’’ he said. “They talk to my agent. I don’t do that part. I just do my job of becoming a better football player and I let my agent and the team and the organization handle that part.’’
Jonathan Cooper is excited for the opportunity to live up to the potential that NFL experts saw in him when he was the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Even if he’s not a big fan of the word “potential.”
The 6-2, 311-pound guard who arrived in Foxborough in Tuesday’s Chandler Jones trade hasn’t made a smooth transition to the pro game, breaking his leg and missing his rookie season and then struggling to hold a starting job in Arizona. Cooper said he’s ready to change his course.
“For myself, I know there is a certain talent in me that I just have to put together,’’ he said. “I hate to use the word ‘potential,’ but there is potential there to be a great player. It’s just a matter of it all coming together.’’
The Patriots are hoping that offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia can be instrumental in helping develop Cooper, who listed “strength, speed, and agility’’ as his strengths, into a reliable and consistent contributor. Cooper said he’s had just minimal dealings with Scarnecchia but knows that will soon change.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things from him,’’ Cooper said. “Even coming in today with other players — they say that he’s such a great coach and he’s old school and he’ll get on you a little bit but the guys love him and that you won’t have a better teacher than Coach Scarnecchia.’’
Fan of McClellin’s
A little lost in the aftermath of the Bennett acquisition was the Patriots’ late-night signing of ex-Bears linebacker Shea McClellin, who reportedly inked a three-year deal. According to Bennett, the Patriots and their fans are going to be happy with the former first-round pick. “I thought the last two years Shea has grown a lot as a player,” said Bennett. “Just watching him grow, becoming a better linebacker, running around, changing his body. He’s an excellent guy. He’s a great teammate, a great human being overall, but he’s just a really fun guy to play with and he brings it every single week. So that’s all you can really ask for in a teammate, a guy that’s going to show up and bring it every single week, and that’s what you get with Shea.’’