Dynamic Bennett adds life to Packers locker room
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Martellus Bennett finished dressing at his locker and turned around to face the media, wearing a foam cheesehead atop his head.
Just one practice into his first training camp with the Green Bay Packers, and the pass-catching tight end is already turning into a dynamic personality in the locker room.
He’s an enticing target on the field for quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his athletic build and 6-foot-6 frame.
“I think, No. 1, we all like personality. This is a tough business. You spend a lot of time, so creativity and laughter are definitely good things to have in your culture,” coach Mike McCarthy said before practice on Thursday. “He’s a big personality and I think he’s fitting in very well with our football team.”
Getting to Lambeau Field early to report looks good to coaches and teammates, too.
Bennett arrived at Lambeau early Wednesday morning, hours before players were supposed to report. Instead of checking into a hotel, he just slept at his locker.
He didn’t get much rest.
“It’s kind of weird sleeping in a corporate environment, you never get too comfortable. I (liken) it to ‘Winnie-the-Pooh it,’ which is just sleep in like a hoodie and nothing else, like Winnie the Pooh,” said Bennett.
It’s no surprise that he made such a reference considering the eclectic Bennett has also written a new children’s comic book.
“I always tell guys, ‘Don’t try to understand me. Just enjoy me while I’m here.’ But for the most part, I’m the same person every single day, so they kind of know. I usually say, ‘BYOE: Bring your own energy.’ But if you need some, come over to Marty and I can run a little off on you,” Bennett said.
On the field, Rodgers targeted Bennett early during the roughly 2 1/2-hour practice.
The additions of Bennett and Lance Kendricks in free agency give the Packers the kind of productive and experienced depth at tight end they haven’t had in years. They join holdover Richard Rodgers at the position, while Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are all back at wide receiver.
It’s the kind of tweak to the passing game that could help make up for any potential drop in production in the run game while McCarthy’s corps of young backs gets up to speed. With Eddie Lacy gone, converted receiver Ty Montgomery is now the veteran, but in his first full season in the backfield.
“I think for running backs … we need some pads on, to see them pick up blitzes, to see them run through the hole and take a shot in the hole,” Rodgers said. “So we’re going to reserve judgment for a while until we get those guys going.”
But no need to hold back on talking about Bennett. He’s a proven commodity, especially after catching seven touchdown passes in helping the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl.
As Bennett readied for interviews after practice, teammate Mike Daniels grabbed a microphone and peppered him with funny questions: how he felt about the “few plays he made in practice.” Bennett fired off a deadpan response about getting into the ebbs and flows of a game.
“When you have a guy like that in the locker room, that’s just — words can’t describe how much that’s needed in the locker room,” Daniels said. “I’m definitely excited to have his type of energy and personality on this team.”
CB Demetri Goodson (knee) and rookie LB Vince Biegel (foot) began training camp on the physically unable to perform list. … C Corey Linsley returned after missing offseason workouts following ankle surgery. “Actually, we’re relatively healthy. We feel good,” McCarthy said.