GEE SCOTT

The secret to Seahawks star Michael Bennett’s success: fatherhood

Jun 18, 2016, 12:55 PM | Updated: 3:24 pm
“I’ve come to realize that my kids are the most important thing in life and all the times that I have, I have to give to them." (AP)
(AP)

What started out as just a dinner ended up being a revelation about what makes Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett so good on the football field. It’s not the money, it’s not the fame and it’s not the ego.

It’s being a father.

I’m a dad myself, but I had no idea what it’s like to be a father and professional athlete simultaneously.

“I think it’s tougher to be an athlete as a father because the time you’re asked to dedicate to something – whatever sport it is, from football to baseball to basketball – it all consumes so much time,” Bennett told me. “So you have to find great balance and I think as athletes in this new generation we have to make sure that we take hold of our families.”

Bennett says the broken families of great athletes are among the most depressing aspects of sports. That these heroes on the gridiron don’t have fairy tale relationships with their kids. For Bennett, the question is which is more important: the sport or the kid?

“I’ve come to realize that my kids are the most important thing in life and all the times that I have, I have to give to them,” he said. “As an athlete that’s what we have to pursue and I think that’s what we have to work on.

“The sport that we play is a selfish sport, so it’s hard to be selfless when it comes to your family,” he added. “And you have to really do that when you’re growing up as an athlete.”

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Bennett is using that selflessness to treat his family this year for Father’s Day. He says the No. 1 gift for Father’s Day is giving back to your loved ones, which is why he’s taking his wife and kids to Italy to show his appreciation for their support.

“For Father’s Day this year I just really want to do something for them and not them do something for me,” he said.

After dinner, Bennett texted me some clarification about his favorite gift that hit pretty close to my heart. He said the No. 1 gift is love and that there’s nothing better than a hug, a thank you and an I love you.

And he’s right.

This will be my first year without my father. And since I won’t be able to hug him, to all of you out there, here’s my hug, my thank you, and my I love you.

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