After signing extension, Michael Bennett expresses desire to eventually ‘retire a Seahawk’

Dec 30, 2016, 4:36 PM
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Seahawks' DE Michael Bennett, 32, is one of the best free agent signings in franchise history. (AP)

Michael Bennett has been working a long time to get a long-term extension with the Seahawks. On Friday, he got it, and now he’s looking forward to something that reported three-year deal will afford him: to retire as a Seahawk.

“That’s pretty cool, to have it somewhere, where you put a lot of hard work in and you’ve done a lot of great things for the organization. To actually get a chance to retire in that same place is always special,” Bennett said Friday afternoon, speaking to local media members at the Seahawks’ headquarters in Renton. “I love Seattle, I love the city, I love the fans here, I love the culture, I love the Seahawks, I want to retire a Seahawk. My teammates are great teammates. It’s just a great place to be.”

Bennett had made it no secret in the past that he felt he had outplayed his previous deal, a four-year contract worth $28.5 million that he signed before the 2014 season. The Seahawks apparently agreed, signing him to a deal reported by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport to be for three years and $31.5 million deal, $17.5 million of which is guaranteed.

“It’s good to be a part of an organization that recognizes players’ talent. Being able to be compensated for what you do on the field is always a good thing,” Bennett said. “(It was) up to (general manager John Schneider) and Paul Allen; he’s a great owner. He wanted to give me an extension, they all wanted to get me one. So it was pretty cool to have somebody want to give you something.”

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was also pleased with the news of the day.

“It’s a good day. We have a chance to recognize Mike and do something for the future,” he said. “The guy’s been a terrific player for us and he’s been a great team guy for us. Mike has been a guy who was hoping he’d have a chance to retire as a Seahawk and wants to be here and be part of this thing. He’s shown nothing but that, so it’s nice recognition for him.”

Bennett’s play, which has earned him back-to-back Pro Bowl nods, likely wasn’t the only factor in the Seahawks deciding to give him a new contract. Despite taking his unhappiness with his previous deal public, Bennett never held out of training camp. That’s notable considering four-time Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor, who is similarly signed through 2017 but staged a lengthy holdout two seasons ago, is still waiting for an extension.

Carroll indicated that Bennett’s means of showing his dissatisfaction were appreciated by the front office.

“That’s the truth,” Carroll said of Bennett never letting his desire for a new contract getting in the way of his play. “Mike expressed something quite a while back, so it’s come to this day where we finally have a chance to make a statement about it. He’s always done his thing, he’s always done football the way it’s supposed to be done, he’s always been a good team guy, he’s always fought for us just as well as anybody on this team.”

While Bennett received his extension with a little more than a year left on his previous deal – a very rare move for Seattle in the Carroll-Schneider era – Carroll said it was simply a result of the Seahawks’ usual “next guy up” mentality.

“It just took time to do it and get through it. We work with the next guy up and Mike was the next guy up,” Carroll said. “Things like this don’t always work out. Sometimes you can come to an agreement and sometimes you can’t. We’ve had a master plan all along. John has done a marvelous job of sticking with it. You can see the formula, it’s really clear. We’ve rewarded the guys that have been with us and have been our core players, our core leadership. This is just another expression of that. There’s a big plan for us and we’ll just keep moving forward as best we can and keep working and showing that there’s some continuity to the whole thing.”

Bennett mentioned that the process of getting the extension wasn’t an easy one, but he understands why it took time.

“You always want to get more money but football is never stress free because you got so many things that weigh in on you. Whether it’s the injuries, whether it’s the game,” he said. “It’s always difficult when you want to get more money. You know how it is, and when you finally get it you feel happy, you feel like you deserved it and earned it so it’s one of those things.”

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After signing extension, Michael Bennett expresses desire to eventually ‘retire a Seahawk’