The New England Patriots have started quietly into the NFL’s legal tampering period: they lost two of their starting players in Trent Brown and Trey Flowers but did not make any moves to fill their voids or re-sign any of their other 15 free agents. The last transaction was actually made last week, when the club traded a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 for defensive edge Michael Bennett and a seventh-rounder that same year.
Bennett should help soften the blow of losing Flowers, and his presence in New England could also help add depth at another position: according to a report that came out quickly after the trade announcement, tight end Martellus Bennett — the neo-Patriot’s younger brother — is considering coming out of retirement and returning to the reigning world champions’ two years after last playing for them.
According to the elder Bennett, however, such a move does not appear to be in the cards. Michael Bennett spoke at Princeton University on Monday in a discussion entitled “Race & the NFL” — and the topic of his trade to the Patriots and what it entails was also brought up:
"There's a lot of moving pieces to it ... I get to be with one of the brightest minds in football, ever, with Bill Belichick." @mosesbread72 on, as @esglaude called "the elephant in the room," his very recent trade to the @Patriots. pic.twitter.com/JNsZPNwMRJ— Princeton University (@Princeton) March 11, 2019
“There’s a lot of moving pieces to it,” Bennett said during the event when speaking about joining the Patriots. “I get to be with one of the brightest minds in football, ever, with Bill Belichick.” The conversation then shifted to the rumor about his brother potentially coming out of retirement to join him in New England, but Bennett’s answer should put a rest to the speculation of such a move happening:
Bennett calls the rumors about Martellus Bennett returning to the NFL “fake news,” which shouldn’t come as too big a surprise. Even if the tight end was actually interested in a return, the Patriots might be hesitant to bring a player in that has been away from football for over year — despite their need at the tight end position and Bennett’s familiarity within the club’s offensive system.
As is the case with a potential Danny Amendola return to New England, the Martellus Bennet rumors will likely also remain nothing more than a fun thought experiment.