The hat Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is wearing is a tribute from back home in Houston.
Last week, Bennett learned the father of a best friend who was a mentor of Bennett passed away after a battle with cancer. Bennett learned of the death of Mark Alexander a couple days before the NFC championship game, and he was emotional soon after the Seahawks' win last weekend while discussing the death.
His mentor's wife sent Bennett the hat, and the Seahawk said he's going to where it all week.
Bennett said the Seattle Police Department donated the bicycle he gleefully swiped from one of its officers and rode around the perimeter of the Seahawks' home field following last weekend's wild win to his foundation. Bennett said the bike will go up for auction in a benefit event in May.
He also had this uniquely Bennett opinion about the week leading up to the Super Bowl that will begin for the Seahawks upon their arrival in Arizona on Sunday afternoon.
"I think it’s just boring—it’s just a waste of time. It’s for the NFL to make their money and get the game hyped up like a boxing match. They want to keep building the game up, but at the end of the day, you really just have to play the game. You really can’t get into all of the media and all of the things going on. You see all of the things they’re talking about now just to keep everybody talking about the game, but really it’s about us lining up and playing a great football team and a great game.
"That’s always been my opinion—it’s just like a boxing match. It’s all about the hype of the game. 'Legend vs. Sherman.' What did he say in 2012? I doubt what he (Tom Brady) remembers what he said in that game, but I bet (Richard) Sherman does.
"But it’s just about us lining up and playing against a great football team. They have great players across the board—you talk about (Rob) Gronkowski, (LeGarrette) Blount, and you talk about the receivers on each side—(Julian) Edelman has come in and he’s played just like Wes Welker, but he’s more athletic than Wes Welker. So they have a lot of great players on their team."
Here is more of what Bennett said today, 10 days before the Super Bowl:
DE Michael Bennett
January 22, 2015
(On his hat) My friend that just passed away—this was his favorite hat. His wife gave it to me so I’m wearing it all week to give me some good luck.
(On describing Kam Chancellor) Ferocious, he’s just a great team leader, and he’s just a beast out there—he does everything that you want an NFL player to do. You want a guy to be able to cover, you want him to be able to tackle, and you want a guy that can lead. When you speak about all of those things, you’re speaking about Kam Chancellor.
(On the Patriots offense) I think it’s kind of like Philadelphia—as long as you study and you see the formations that they have and you prepared for them, you should be ready for them. It’s certain things that you see, you know from seeing them or seeing them play, that you just have to be ready for it. Tom Brady is such a great quarterback—he’s a Hall of Famer so you just have to be ready for him and the rest of the team.
(On the Patriots run game) I think they just run the ball downhill, I just think that guys aren’t tackling them. LeGarrette [Blount] is a big back, I played with him down in Tampa for three or four years. He’s the type of back that if you get them going, he can rush for a lot of yards. He’s very athletic—I think sometimes people forget that. You just have to tackle them, I think a lot of times when teams get a lot of rushing yards, and it’s usually because guys are out of their gaps. If you play gap football usually teams don’t break big runs.
(On Kevin Williams) It’s not often you get to play with a legend like Kevin. So I’m getting to play along somebody as great as him—he has to change his position for us, that’s something you have to do when you come here; to be able to play multiple positions and Kevin has done a great job with that—whether it’s nose, end, or 3-technique. We just try to coach him—[Brandon] Mebane is the best nose in the game and that’s hard for him to come in and play at the level that Mebane has been playing at for the last couple years, but Kevin has done a great job of doing that. The rushing yards have been the same since Mebane has been out and we’ve still been playing as a great run defense.
(On Kevin Williams getting his first Super Bowl) Yes—I told him that it’s about time you stop playing for the losing team and play for the winning team. It’s good for Kevin to get a chance to be in this situation. It’ll be new to him, but since we’ve already been in this situation, we’ll coach him up about not worrying too much about the media—it’s really about the game. The rest of this stuff is just fun.
(On the Super Bowl hype) I think it’s just boring—it’s just a waste of time. It’s for the NFL to make their money and get the game hyped up like a boxing match. They want to keep building the game up, but at the end of the day, you really just have to play the game. You really can’t get into all of the media and all of the things going on. You see all of the things they’re talking about now just to keep everybody talking about the game, but really it’s about us lining up and playing a great football team and a great game.
(On his opinion about the Super Bowl Hype) That’s always been my opinion—it’s just like a boxing match. It’s all about the hype of the game. Legend v. Sherman, What did he say in 2012—I doubt what he remember what he said in that game, but I bet [Richard] Sherman does, but it’s just about us lining up and playing against a great football team. They have great players across the board—you talk about [Rob] Gronkowski, [LeGarrette] Blount, and you talk about the receivers on each side—[Julian] Edelman has come in and he’s played just like Wes Welker, but he’s more athletic than Wes Welker. So they have a lot of great players on their team.
(On the bike he rode after the NFC Championship Game) Actually they donated the bike to my foundation so we’re going to auction it off at my charity event in May.
(On the kid crying) Yes—I felt bad for him but I’m glad we won. Some people say the better team lost, but I don’t understand how the better team loses, but I guess that’s something losers say.
(On the Packers' claims the better team didn't win the NFC title game) "I don't know how the 'better team' loses. I guess that's something losers say.
(On the most amazing moment of the season) The most amazing moment is beating Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship and beating a great team like the Packers and getting a chance to play against those guys and win the way that we did.
(On best part about next week) The National Anthem—they have famous people singing so it’s always cool. I think Katie Perry is doing the halftime with Lenny Kravitz so it’s going to be fun. The best part is just getting a chance to go after Tom Brady and playing a good game to see how the game is going to unfold, getting a chance to see Marshawn [Lynch] run the ball how he’s capable of doing—that’s the best part.
(On being able to play multiple positions) I think it’s my willingness to do it—I think you have to have a willingness to play dirty football—not in a sense to play dirty, but just going out there, and playing hard. You have to be able to play with a lot of contact on this team, line up from nose to end, to all the positions—it’s just my willingness to do it. I’m just a team guy and I try to do whatever they ask me to do, I try to do it.
(On the keys to playing inside) I think it’s my quickness, speed, keeping linemen off balance, and being able to know when I have a man beat, and when I don’t have him beat.
(On deflated footballs) I’m not worried about those footballs—those footballs don’t matter when you’re playing a great defense.
(On his opinion about the Patriots) My opinion is the same—Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches to ever step foot in a building. Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks to play football. The Patriots are one of the greatest football teams to ever exist in this football league. They have a great team—Robert Kraft is a great owner so they have a great team. My opinion of them hasn’t changed at all—it’s still all about playing the game. Whatever happened—it happened, so that’s just something somebody else is looking for to find an excuse why the other team lost the game, but that’s just how it is—sometimes you lose and sometimes you win. We’re playing against a great team so we have to be ready to play against them.
(On difficulty preparing for the Patriots) No because we have the type of defense that can do multiple things too—so for them, they’re going to go with whatever is working for them and that’s how you win football games. If you run the ball good, there is no use of passing it and if you’re not running the ball good and they’re catching it, then you might as well throw it—that’s something they did. Baltimore [Ravens] shut down the run and the Colts didn’t shut down the run so they kept running the ball.
(On how they bounced back) It’s always going to be challenges because it’s new people every year—it’s new guys coming in trying to fulfill a new role and new teams that we’re playing against so we just went through a lot of changes as the season went on, but good leadership withstood attest the time. Everyone expected us not to be in the championship again, but we always expected us to be right back where we’re supposed to be at and we’ve played great football over the last couple of weeks. At the beginning of the season, everyone is a contender for the Super Bowl, but only towards the end, you see who the real contenders are. So in the beginning, you’ll see the pretenders and in December, you’ll see the contenders. You see the same teams every year that are competing for a championship and that are us and other teams too.
(On adversity making the season better) Yes because you lose so many guys like Chris Clemons, Red Bryant—it was so many different guys that we lost, but being able to come back, news guys be able to come in and play at a high level and still sustain the type of defense that we have last year or better, it’s just a great challenge and we stepped up to the board and you see Russell [Wilson] is playing better than last year, Marshawn [Lynch] is playing the same way he’s always played, and Doug Baldwin—people thought Percy [Harvin] was going to come in and Doug wasn’t going to be able to play anymore, but Doug still came back and played a great season. [Jermaine] Kearse—the list can go on. Zach Miller goes down and Luke Willson plays a great season. It’s just one of those things where people just came in and played at a high level.
(On Landon Cohen and Demarcus Dobbs) I think they’ve done a great job. I think John Schneider and the rest of the staff does a great job of looking for a particular kind of player that can come in and do multiple things. Every time they find the right guy—the guy comes in and has the right personality and fits in and he knows the expectations of our teams and Dobbs—this is his fourth NFC Championship game and this is his fourth year, so he’s been prepared for championship moments and Cohen has come in and played great so we always expect guys to come in and keep the same standard.
(On Landon Cohen luckily landing in Seattle) He’s not lucky—he just got on the right team. He’s been playing, he just had to go through the ringer of the NFL—being cut and keep coming back, that’s one of the hardest things for people to do. I know it’s easy for people to write stuff like that, but once you get cut, come back, get cut again, and have to come back and you keep fighting—that’s something about his spirit, that’s why that’s good for our team. When you have guys like that have a chip on their shoulder, they can come in and play the way that they can.
(On buying into being the underdog) It’s the truth—you think about Russell Wilson, they said he was too short. You think about all the guys that were in front of him, but he’s the one that’s won the most games out of his draft class. You think about Doug Baldwin—he wasn’t drafted, but he’s made all the big catches. [Jermaine] Kearse wasn’t drafted, Earl [Thomas] is too short, [Richard] Sherman is a fifth round cornerback—you think about all the corners who went in front of him and where he’s at right now. You think about all that stuff—Kam [Chancellor] is a fifth round safety, you think about all the guys that went in front of him. You think about me—I’m undrafted, Cliff [Arvil] was in the 3rd round and you think about the only people that were in the 1st round was Earl and Kevin [Williams]. So you think about that and guys keep that on their mind all the time, and that’s just how they play. It’s easy to get lazy and think we’re at the top, but you have to keep going and think of something that’s keeping you looking forward and I think that’s one of the things that kept us in our position.
(On when he and Cliff Avril stack on top of each other in a stunt) It’s just one of those things where you have to switch up one of the linemen sometimes because we’re in the same position so teams can usually scheme for where we’re going to be at—they spend all week trying to figure out what’s going to happen. So sometimes you have to switch it up and we do that occasionally and big things happen.