RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Even though Michael Bennett has expressed complaints over the past year about his contract with the Seattle Seahawks, he’s not one to freely forfeit money.
Which is why after staying away during Seattle’s voluntary team activities over the past month, Bennett was back at the Seahawks facility on Tuesday as the team opened mandatory minicamp.
Bennett was just a spectator for the first day of the three-day camp, the last team activities before the start of training camp in late July.
Bennett said he has a sore ankle, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll said it’s not believed to be a significant injury that could impact Bennett’s readiness for the beginning of training camp.
But he was there and avoiding any potential fines for staying away.
“Just trying to get back healthy from working out and get back to being ready to go when the season starts,” Bennett said.
There was very little drama to the opening day of Seattle’s minicamp, with Bennett’s attendance really the only question mark.
Also present was defensive end Chris Clemons, who Carroll had previously joked took full liberty of the “voluntary” aspect of the offseason training program.
For more than a year, Bennett has openly expressed his displeasure with the $28 million, four-year extension he signed with Seattle that runs through the 2017 season. Bennett’s claim is that he outplayed the worth of the contract, but said Tuesday his contract situation is up to the organization at this point.
“He contributes to the whole team mentality by the way he brings it and the way he competes,” Carroll said. “We’re going ask everything of him. We’re going to ask him to do everything when he’s back and well and healthy and all that, we’re going to expect him to do everything that he always has and that’s not too much to ask of him.”
And the numbers have backed Bennett’s claim. He’s been one of the most versatile and disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL over the past two seasons playing both defensive end and defensive tackle.
Bennett was a Pro Bowl selection last season after having 10 sacks, but that stat alone doesn’t fully define Bennett’s value.
Bennett was proclaiming the talent of teammate Frank Clark on Tuesday and said Clark could be a “$100 million” player. Asked if he was worth $100 million, Bennett quickly backed the claim.
“Of course I am. If you look at the stats of those guys, what they’ve done the last couple of years I’m at the top of the list in every statistical category,” Bennett said.
“If you look at it — tackles for loss, quarterback hits, hurries, games played, positions played — I mean it speaks for itself.”
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