Everyone was excited (and shocked) when Ted picked up Martellus Bennett in the offseason.
He’s a big target, a fierce competitor that’s dangerous with the ball in his hands – he’s everything you want in the field.
Off the field?
Let’s call him colorful.
He’s not a substance-abuser or a woman-beater. He doesn’t electrocute dogs or disrespect our country and the heroes (and the memories of heroes) who keep it safe.
He does, however, speak his mind. The topics are broad, ranging from how children lose their creativity as adults, to poking fun at Russell Wilson on a, uh, good-natured “religious debate.”
He’s not just spouting off, though, he’s a children’s book author and an articulate speaker who’s given a Ted Talk on how athletes are perceived and more recently called out Jason Whitlock on social issues (I avoid getting into stuff like that, but pretty much anyone who calls out a blabberface hot-hate like Jason Whitlock is probably someone I’ll enjoy following).
But we’re still in OTAs. He’s only been on the team for a couple months and everything a Packer does in tiny Green Bay gets magnified.
So, naturally, the question arises: will it become a distraction?
The Packers haven’t a personality like this in a long time. Legends like Paul Hornung and Johnny Blood came way before Twitter.
Martellus (who I hope some day let’s me call him Tellus), is this going to be a problem?
He was viewed as a distraction at times in Chicago, but not in his most recent stint in New England.
What was the difference?
Aside from how ridiculous Chicago sports talk can be: Winning.
Bennett is a creative guy, an outspoken guy, and that generates a lot of attention. That’s different from the Dezs and OBJs of the world who crave attention and seek it out.
Bennett has been humble in his approach to joining the team and been a model citizen in his short time in Green Bay.
But games haven’t started yet.
It’s hard to imagine a team this talented having a losing season, they’ve proven they can overcome a lot of injuries to make the playoffs and even win the Super Bowl. But there have been some dead stretches the over the seasons, and those could be an opportunity of Bennett’s personality to show itself in a less pleasant manner.
I wouldn’t bet on it, though. This guy knows how good this team is. He knows where they can go and he’s not going to jeopardize that.
I think it would take a lot to get a character even this colorful to become a distraction this season for the Packers. So let’s just relax and enjoy what promises to be an entertaining ride as the Martellus Bennett era gets underway.