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A few minutes with the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett


By Brady Henderson

Michael Bennett joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Wyman, Mike and Moore” Thursday for a discussion that touched on the versatile defensive lineman’s lightning quick first step, what appealed to him about the Seahawks in free agency, and even Napoleon Bonaparte.

Michael Bennett signed a one-year deal with Seattle after spending four seasons in Tampa Bay. (AP)

That’s right, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The interview can be heard here. A few highlights are below.

Quick off the ball. Seattle’s defense has physical oddities at every level, a reflection of coach Pete Carroll’s penchant for players with traits that are rare for the positions they play. What makes Bennett different is his quickness off the ball, something that helps him make up for the weight he gives up to the interior offensive linemen he lines up against.

“I think I probably have the best get-off in the NFL probably, I feel like,” Bennett said. “At least everybody I know in the defensive world tells me that, even on other teams. They all be like, man, what am I keying on? I don’t give them the secret.”

Seahawks’ selling points. A uniquely loud stadium and a secondary considered the best in the league are two factors that give the Seahawks considerable pull with free-agent pass rushers. Those were two of the well-known reasons by Bennett chose to come to Seattle on a one-year deal in March. He shared another on Thursday: the promise that the Seahawks would tailor some of their pass rush to him.

“I had other opportunities to go other places but I felt like this was the best place for me to be, especially with [defensive coordinator Dan Quinn] and once Pete called me and told me the different ways they thought about using me,” Bennett said. “This was my first time ever being part of a plan where they actually had a plan for me. I’ve been part of teams where other guys were the main focus and I just still made plays, but this time it’s like this play is drawn up for me to make the play. That feels good.”

Words of wisdom. Embrace the challenge. That was Bennett’s message to rookie offensive tackles Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie, who if pressed into action Sunday against Houston would be tasked with blocking among others J.J. Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the league’s most dominant defensive linemen.

“I told them today, I was like, as a player you shouldn’t be scared to play against J.J. Watt. These are the kinds of games you want to play in because this is what makes you as a player, when you go out there and you stand up to the best players and you prove yourself,” Bennett said. “With that, you get confidence and once you beat those guys you feel like you can beat anybody and if you get that kind of confidence as a player you can’t be stopped.

‘He’s trying to conquer the world.’ Bennett’s younger brother, Martellus, a tight end for the Bears, drew some laughs last week when he said Chicago coach Marc Trestman reminds him of Willy Wonka, the character portrayed by Gene Wilder in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” So, naturally, Michael Bennett was asked to liken Carroll to a famous figure. His response: Napoleon Bonaparte, of course.

“He’s trying to conquer the world,” Bennett said, clarifying that it has nothing to do with Carroll’s height and everything to do with his ambitions. “He definitely wants to be the greatest coach ever. Alexander the Great, whoever you want to compare him to. He definitely wants to be the best coach. Whenever they talk about coaching, he wants to be mentioned. He won at a high level in college and he’s winning at a high level in the NFL …

“Pete only talks about championships. I’ve been around people that talk about, ‘Let’s be good. Let’s be good.’ Pete’s always talking about, ‘Let’s be great.’ He’s always talking about what you need to work on, and as a player you need that sometimes.”

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.