Michael Bennett discusses Seahawks’ rookies learning their place, NFL contracts
Michael Bennett has apparently taken a father-figure role in training camp when it comes to the young offensive and defensive linemen. And, sometimes, that means doling out an occasional “whooping.”
Bennett has been involved in multiple skirmishes so far in camp, even being booted from one practice. “Brock and Salk” asked Bennett Tuesday how he would characterize his work through the first nine days of camp.
“I’ve just been very involved in trying to do the same thing I’ve always been doing: Be a great leader out there, play as hard as I can, help the young rookies come along and, of course, occasionally, whoop some offensive linemen’s ass,” Bennett said. “Occasionally, people need their ass whooped and I’m the guy to do it.”
To which Mike Salk asked, why do they need to get whooped?
“It’s just about learning what not to do,” he responded. “It’s like a kid, you know what I’m saying? You’ve got to whoop them and show them where to go every once in a while.”
Bennett said there are always fights along the line, because “that’s where the game is played.”
“(The Legion of Boom), they might hit people like six or seven times a game,” he said. “Up front it’s always contact and it can get a little feisty up front. And I just think, too, this a young group and they’re trying to prove themselves against veterans. And I don’t have time to try to have rookies try to prove themselves against me because I’m just trying to get better at what I’m doing. But I understand what they’re trying to do.”
Fellow defensive lineman Cliff Avril told “Brock and Salk” that a few of the younger teammates are a bit hard-headed and don’t always want to listen to the veterans. To that end, Bennett said rookies always have a substantial learning curve.
“When you come to the NFL, it’s like you don’t really understand what’s going on; the magnitude of what is seriously going on here,” he said. “Every day is an evaluation and I think a lot of times guys don’t really understand that part of the business. They just see the games, and they see people catching touchdowns and people get sacks, but they don’t really see the business side of this business.”
NFL contracts should be guaranteed like NBA
Bennett didn’t get into specifics about his ongoing contract dispute but did discuss the disparity in fairness on how these situations play out.
“At the end of the day, players have to stick to their contract and the team doesn’t really have to stick to a player’s contract,” he said. “A team could cut a player at any minute. At some point in time, it has to be where a player’s contract is completely guaranteed.”
Bennett said he’s spoken with the NFL Player’s Association about contract guarantees and how the NBA union has worked for its athletes. He said basketball players don’t incur as many injuries as football players and that fans “don’t really see the pain part of football,” only the wins and losses. He says guaranteed contracts are important because of the injuries sustained during and after football.
“I know so many guys who can’t even walk and they’re like 30 years old and their back is messed up,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Well, it’s the sport that they played.’ But at the same time, this sport is the highest grossing sport of all of the sports in America, so why shouldn’t a contract be guaranteed?”
The NBA free agency that saw record-high spending didn’t help.
“Even when you’re bad in the NBA you still make money,” he said “I think, at the end of the day, there is such a short lifespan in football that I think guys want to make more money and have the ability to do it. And I don’t think fans should get mad at a guy if he wants more money. Just like I think fans shouldn’t be mad at the team if the team cuts somebody.”
Other highlights from the conversation
• Seahawks offense needs to build up confidence. Bennett said it will take time for the offensive line to find continuity and that practices are skewed toward the offense. “They try to make it so they can score more and get a chance to build up their confidence, like a girl. You want to make her look really well. It’s like, ‘How’s my hair look?’ ‘Oh, it looks really well.’ But in your mind you’re like, ‘No, no, no – but you look fine, baby, you look good.’”
• Offensive line will be tested. “It’s hard to be offensive line in this division. Week after week, you have to go against the best of the best. It doesn’t get much better than this conference. The only conference that I think is equivalent to this would be the AFC West with Kansas City, the Chargers, Raiders and the Broncos.”
• Political talk. Bennett, a Bernie Sanders supporter, said he and his teammates have been talking about Hillary vs. Trump. “Who is the lesser of the two evils? … I know I’m not voting for Trump, man. Anybody that follows me, do not vote for Trump.”
• Coaching aspirations? “I think I’d be a great coach. I think a lot of players they always ask me if I’m going to be a coach because I’m really patient and I’m visual and I can show them exactly what to do, what’s going to happen. I think I’d be a great coach but coaching takes way too much time.”