Bears reinstate Martellus Bennett

ByMichael C. Wright via ESPN logo
Sunday, August 10, 2014

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett rejoined teammates Sunday at Olivet Nazarene University, six days after the club levied an unspecified fine and indefinite suspension.

Bennett's punishment stemmed from a fight at practice last Monday with teammate Kyle Fuller. During the incident, the tight end slammed the rookie cornerback to the ground. In the aftermath, Bennett reacted unapologetically, but has since changed his tune.

"I think I could've handled the situation differently," Bennett said. "We can talk about it right now, but [I would've handled it] any way differently than I did. I think everything in life is about learning lessons. Whatever situation you're going [through], you always learn from it whether it's good or bad. There's always a lesson or moral to the story."

Bears general manager Phil Emery announced Bennett's suspension a day after the tight end's incident occurred with Fuller. Emery said the decision had been made Monday night, forcing Bennett to miss two days of practice and a walk-through leading into Friday's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bennett wasn't with the team during its 34-28 victory, and Bears coach Marc Trestman said after the game the plan was to re-evaluate the situation before the team's Sunday return to training camp. Throughout the suspension, Bennett and Trestman remained in contact, with the tight end saying Sunday the conversations were the "same conversations we always have every day."

Asked about what he needed to do to return to the team, Bennett declined to discuss specifics.

"We'll keep that in house," Bennett said. "I did everything they asked me to do. That's why I'm standing in front of y'all right now. So everything they asked me to do, I did, and I did it exceptionally well."

Bennett said he'd be back on the field for the club's 3 p.m. CT practice at ONU, and admitted watching the exhibition opener was "tough" because "you always want to be out there and do what you do."

Chicago's reserve tight ends received extra work in Friday's game due to Bennett's suspension, and they capitalized on the opportunity. Zach Miller, Dante Rosario and Jeron Mastrud caught a combined 10 passes for 112 yards. Miller led the way with 68 yards on six grabs for two touchdowns.

"It's always tough to watch the game. You want to be out there with your team. But the tight ends did me proud," Bennett said.

"So I was super excited for them. Zach [Miller] was out there balling. He had some YAC (yards after catch). Dante caught a big ball across the middle. I thought they played exceptionally well. To see all those guys get a chance to go out there and do what we've been working on together and helping them perform at a high level, I was super excited for them. They played extremely well."

Moving forward, Bennett said he now understands "what they want from me," and the plan is to "just do it the way they want it to be done."

"I feel like I've always been a great teammate. I think they want me to continue to be the player I've been and continue to play the way I've been playing and perform highly on the field," he said.

Bennett added that his teammates were excited to see him Sunday when he showed up for meetings.

"They love me. I love the guys," Bennett said. "I got a lot of hugs and high-fives, slaps on the butt, all that good stuff, a lot of jokes. The moment they saw me, most guys just started laughing because they wanted me to say something funny. Everyone, they all seemed very happy to have me back around. Guys say they missed me. I missed the guys."

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