Yesterday when I wrote about the Seahawks' funny, glib -- outspoken, actually -- defensive end and his comments on 710 ESPN radio in Seattle I purposely didn't include what he said about newly acquired tight end Jimmy Graham. It didn't one bit surprise me, so I judged it would be (re)stating the obvious.
Bennett, you recall, jawed with Bennett before and throughout a January 2014 playoff game then said this after Seattle beat then-Graham's New Orleans Saints that day en route to the Seahawks' first Super Bowl championship: “Nobody likes Jimmy Graham. I think he’s one of the softest players in the NFL. I think he’s overrated and I really don’t like him as a person or as a player. … When he’s not in the game he’s not in the game. He doesn’t help on the blocking plays. I think he’s just overrated.”
Now that the Seahawks have traded for Graham and they are teammates, apparently people expect Bennett to retract all that. Or they expect what Bennett said two seasons ago in the heat of a playoff game to matter now.
Uh, no. That's not Bennett. He's irreverent. He doesn't care much what the upshot may be to what he says, especially about opponents after -- and certainly during -- games.
I mean, a guy who commandeers a police officer's bicycle and rides it around the field while still in full pads amid Seattle's celebration following the NFC championship game in Seattle isn't exactly minding the p's and q's of everything he says and does.
I still chuckle over what he said about Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy, touted all preseason leading into last September 4's NFL opener as a big threat to the Seahawks, rushing for just 34 yards in Seattle's 20-point win: “Lacy? Obviously he didn’t run on us. He had 12 carries for 40 yards. I mean, I could do that.”
And he doesn't waste much time taking back what he says after he says it.
It's evidence of how obsessive the coverage of this league is, how desperate that obsession becomes in the slow months like April, and how any sound bite -- whether insightful or not --equate to news pegs that CBS, USA Today, NFL Network and just about every national outlet short of Home and Garden TV are trying to make a big story out of Bennett saying this when asked yesterday about Graham:
“I still feel the same way. Just because he’s on my team I don’t stop feeling that way. Obviously, I’m going to be a better teammate to him because he’s on my team. I can't do the things I was doing to him when I was playing him.
"Obviously, when he comes to our team he's part of our team. We have a different philosophy than he had with the Saints. The things he was expected to do with the Saints are going to be different when he comes here. Obviously, we're a running team so he's going to have to block and do all those things.
"But, I mean, I don’t feel as harsh as I did at the time because he’s my teammate now, but at the time he was on the opposite team and we battled with him a couple of times. And I didn’t really like that team."
Again, you can listen to the entire interview here. The part on Graham begins at the 2:45 mark:
When Graham and Bennett and the Seahawks begin offseason minicamps, get on the field in a June minicamp and block for semi-real in training camp starting in late July, they'll be teammates and all this will be like rhetoric and predictions in April: Worthless. Bennett will be paid to sack quarterbacks and disrupt offensive lines, again. Graham will get paid to be the most dynamic tight end Seattle's had in, oh, ever. And the two stars' goal will be a shared, united one: to win another Super Bowl.
So why is this news again?