Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett unleashed a belly laugh when asked if Jason Garrett accepted him.
“I could name you the coaches who accepted who I am,” Bennett said.
Bennett played at Texas A&M, and professionally for the Cowboys, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. That’s a lot of coaches.
“One is (former Cowboys tight ends coach) Mike Pope. Another is (former A&M assistant) Mark Tommerdahl,” Bennett said, “and Bill Belichick.”
You mean the guy who would not accept a sun rise if it’s not right?
The last name was not the name we expected, but it should partially explain a portion of Belichick’s success. Much like his mentor, Bill Parcells, Belichick accepts quirks provided the player do as necessary to win, and can play. He doesn’t sweat the rest.
Bennett joins the chorus of ex-Cowboys to express displeasure with the current Cowboys’ coach, but unlike the excuse-making ramblings from David Irving, Bennett’s voice carries more weight.
“As far as Jason, it was miscommunication,” Bennett said. “He could not communicate to me, or with me. Or approach me.”
Some of this is Martellus; Bennett’s body was built for a football game, but Marty B’s personality was not built for the game of the NFL. But that he says a guy like the supposedly rigid Belichick accepted Marty B, and Garrett did not, is telling.
Bennett is retired from a league he only partially loved; he played as a means to do something else. At the moment, he has a new book out. He took his popular letter written in a 2016 edition of The Player’s Tribune and made a children’s book titled, “Dear Black Boy.”
Whatever you think of Bennett as a player, his Player’s Tribune article and the book itself has a worthy, powerful message of aspiring young African American kids to believe in themselves, and to be great.
He wrote the original article in response to the shooting of Philando Castile by a police officer in St. Paul, Minn., and of Alton Sterling in Louisiana by a law enforcement official in 2016.
“As you get older society shapes your dreams and society tells kids that they can’t. Everyone is so busy telling kids what they can’t do,” Bennett said. “I want kids to have confidence in themselves.”
At 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, Bennett never lacked for confidence. From the time he was a second round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2008 NFL Draft, he showed the confidence born from always being the biggest kid in any room. And the most athletic.
He liked football. Football’s demand to fit in he hated.
“I didn’t like the politics of the the NFL. You see guys come to teams, like the Cowboys when they gave (jersey No. 88) to Dez Bryant and they wanted him to fall into the footprints of Michael Irvin and the other guys who wore that number. They never let guys be themselves,” Bennett said. “I never really fit into any locker room, and people take that as a bad thing that I am different than what I want a player to be. There were parts of the NFL I enjoyed, but that was Plan B, and this is Plan A.”
Much like his brother, New England Patriots defensive end Michael Bennett, Marty B always wanted to talk about subjects way beyond ball. And he refused to worship his employer, the NFL.
That irritated Garrett, among others. There is a reason Marty B played for five teams.
“Most people look at the NFL like it’s a privilege. It’s not a privilege to be in the NFL,” Martellus said. “We earned it. You out-worked everyone, and everyone wants to do it. I do think with the NFL people are starting to see what we trying to tell people. It’s the same thing with racism.
“People want to act like racism doesn’t exist. We live it. Go to the grocery store and people are (messing) with you. Then this all becomes shared experiences because of the media. No one wants sympathy. This is about empathy; that’s what the world needs.”
Martellus Bennett is done with football, and now he is on to another phase, which, today is an empowering children’s book.