Barry Chin/Globe Staff
FOXBOROUGH — Shortly after he had hit the practice field as a Patriot, tight end Martellus Bennett posted a series of messages to his Instagram account accusing his former team, the Green Bay Packers, of pushing him to play through a shoulder injury before releasing him Wednesday.
“The packers examined my shoulder on my visit March 10 and cleared it,” Bennett wrote. “They even gave me an xray as well. It got worse during the season, specifically against the cowboys so I asked to have it checked out and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now here we are . . .”
Bennett signed with Green Bay as a free agent on March 10, his 30th birthday. The Cowboys played the Packers in Week 5. Bennett went on to write that Packers team doctor Patrick McKenzie tried to convince Bennett not to have surgery and to play through the injury. Bennett has a torn rotator cuff, according to a report from the NFL Network.
“They tried to [expletive] me over,” Bennett wrote. “Dr. McKenzie trying to cover his own ass. After trying to persuade me to play thru a major injury and me choosing to get surgery.
“They have access to all my medical records. My shoulder wasn’t where it is now at the beginning of the season. I [expletive] it up playing for the [Packers].”
Bennett played through multiple injuries as a Patriot last season but did not miss a game.
“Dr. McKenzie didn’t make me feel safe and was pushing to play which I thought was weird,” Bennett wrote. “Not that he was trying to get me to play thru it but the way he was saying things. I didn’t trust him. So I got 3 other opinions from doctors who all said I need to get it fixed. So I decided to do that. And they decided to waive me with some [expletive] excuse. Failure disclose.”
Failure to disclose a medical condition was the designation the Packers used when they waived the veteran tight end, and it’s possible Green Bay could use it to attempt to get back $4.2 million of Bennett’s signing bonus, prorated for the remaining years on the three-year deal they reached in March.
According to Bennett, he told the team repeatedly that his shoulder was bothering him.
“Every week we do a body evaluation sheet in the weight and pretty much every week I circled my shoulder,” he wrote. “I just kept playing but it got worse.
“During the bye week I got off anti-inflammatories to clean my system and could really feel the pain. So I asked to examine it first day back in. And that’s when we found out it was really [expletive] up.
On Twitter, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson defended his team, saying in his 10 years with Green Bay he “never once felt pressured to play in game. If anything, I have had to try and convince Dr. McKenzie and the athletics trainers to allow me to play in a game.’’
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he knew Bennett wanted surgery.
“The last medical conversation I was involved with, they were talking about scheduling surgery,” McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. McCarthy said he enjoyed coaching Bennett and wished him well.
The Packers had a bye week in Week 8, during which Bennett posted on social media that this season would probably be his last.
Bennett did not play in Week 9 and had already been ruled out for Green Bay’s game this Sunday. The Patriots have him listed as questionable on their injury report for Sunday night’s game in Denver and said he was limited in practice Friday.
Bennett wrote that he believes the Packers “panicked” and didn’t want to pay him if he went on IR, though his contract gives them an out after this season and is relatively cheap for the remainder of the year, with $476,471 left in prorated salary.
Bennett’s bye week post mentioned that he would play out the final eight games of the season, which he wrote Friday he intended to do before getting additional opinions on his shoulder.
“Now I’m like [expletive] it,” Bennett wrote.
Whether that means Bennett won’t suit up for the Patriots is unclear.
It’s odd in light of the fact that he was out at practice doing warmups in his old No. 88 jersey Friday, which fueled some speculation that Bennett was more willing to play through pain for a contender. Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone against the Vikings in Week 6.
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