Martellus Bennett Suspended and Fined After Training Camp Fight
One day after Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett got into a scuffle with teammate Kyle Fuller, the team announced Tuesday that it has fined and suspended Bennett.
According to ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright, general manager Phil Emery has yet to place a timetable on the suspension:
Wright also revealed the official reasoning behind the discipline: "Suspension is for conduct detrimental to team."
During Monday's practice, Bennett seemed to overreact after the rookie cornerback tackled him. The former Dallas Cowboy and New York Giant proceeded to slam Fuller to the turf before being restrained by teammates.
Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times provided further comments from Emery:
This is a process that we're working with Martellus. We are in contact with him. Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He's a very loved and respected teammate and we want him back. But it's a process that we have to work through.
After both players had time to cool down, it looked as though they had gotten over the incident, per Jahns: "This is a process that we're working with Martellus. We are in contact with him. Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He's a very loved and respected teammate and we want him back. But it's a process that we have to work through."
According to ESPN.com's Jeff Dickerson, Bennett chalked it up to his aggressive style of play and the heat of the moment:
I come to training camp for one reason and that's to prepare to win a championship. I play hard and go hard every single day. I'm probably one of the most violent people on the field. That's just my style of play. I'm going to continue to play the same way I always play. That's what I'm here for.
Everybody talks about friendships, but really we are all preparing to win a championship. If we make friends along the way, cool. But I'm just trying to help the Bears win a championship and do the job to the best of my ability.
When asked about the possibility of being fined for his actions, Bennett didn't seem particularly worried about it, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert: "Bennett was also pretty flippant yesterday about the possibility of a fine yesterday. Said he could afford it. Bears took him up on it"
It will certainly be interesting to see if Bennett's attitude changes now that he has been suspended in addition to getting fined. While Bennett's emotions may have gotten the better of him, Emery, head coach Marc Trestman and the Chicago brass sent a loud and clear message.
The 27-year-old Bennett is coming off the best season of his career, as he racked up 65 catches for 759 yards and five touchdowns in 2013. Even so, he is far from bulletproof.
Chicago needs Bennett to be on board in order to have success in 2014. He provides quarterback Jay Cutler with a great safety valve in the passing game while also serving as a key blocker for Matt Forte in the running game.
It seems as though those in power simply want to show Bennett that no one player is above the team. One can only assume that his suspension is temporary and contingent upon him getting on the same page as everyone else.
The Bears likely felt the need to do something like this in order to get through to Bennett, and it is now up to him to respond in a positive and constructive manner.