After 10 seasons in the NFL, veteran tight end Martellus Bennett announced his retirement yesterday. Bennett, who spent the majority of the past two seasons with the New England Patriots and helped the team win a Super Bowl during the 2016 season, took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the game to enter the “fantastical and wondrous world of creativity” via his company The Imagination Agency:
I’ve decided to move on from the world of football and into the fantastical and wondrous world of creativity. I’m beginning what I believe to be my life’s work @ImaginationAgcy pic.twitter.com/7asa7ARXZX— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) March 24, 2018
Bennett originally entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. The Texas A&M product spent the first four years of his career in Dallas before deciding to join the New York Giants via free agency in 2012. In his one season with the Giants, Bennett set new career-highs in receptions (55), yards (626) and touchdowns (5) and set himself up for a four-year, $20.4 million contract with the Chicago Bears.
In Chicago, Bennett had the most productive stretch of his career: During his three seasons with the Bears, he caught a combined 208 passes for 2,114 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2014, Bennett was at his best and was named to the only Pro Bowl of his career after catching 90 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns. However, his tenure in Chicago was not without controversy and as a result the team put him on the trade block in 2016.
The Patriots were willing to invest in the tight end and sent a fourth-round draft selection to Chicago for Bennett and a sixth-rounder. During the 2016, season, Bennett appeared in all 19 of New England's games and after Rob Gronkowski was placed on injured reserve became a focal point of the offense. As such, he played a big role in helping the team reach and ultimately win Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons.
Coming off his 66-catch campaign in 2016, Bennett hit the open market and signed a three-year, $21.0 million contract with the Green Bay Packers. However, he lasted only seven games in Green Bay and was released after he allegedly failed to disclose a medical condition. The Patriots picked up Bennett on waivers but after only two games placed him on season-ending injured reserve.
Now, the 31-year old – one of the most colorful characters in the NFL over the past decade – has decided to call it a career. It was quite a successful one.