As a result of yesterday’s scuffle during the Chicago Bears’ training camp practice, general manager Phil Emery and the rest of the Bears organization decided to fine and suspend tight end Martellus Bennett for an undetermined length of time for conduct detrimental to the team.
What led to this disciplinary action was a play during practice where rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller attempted to strip the ball from Bennett’s grasp. Instead, Fuller grabbed Bennett’s shoulder and spun him to the ground. As a result, Bennett got into the face of Fuller and body slammed him into the ground. Teammates then intervened to quickly defuse the situation, and head coach Marc Trestman ended practice about 10 minutes early.
Altercations such as this one aren’t unfamiliar when it comes to NFL training camps. Leading up to the first week of the preseason, teams eventually get sick of hitting and wrestling against one another and are in desperate need of unleashing that aggression on another team. So fining and suspending a player for something this common is unheard of. However, in Bennett’s case, this consequence might be the wake-up call he needs.
It’s been reported that Bennett has been somewhat apathetic in practices, upsetting coaches and players. Bennett has been seen slowing down the upbeat tempo of practice by not hustling back to the huddle after plays and taking his time getting ready before the start of plays.
Obviously, Bennett’s fine and suspension is speaking more to just the melee against Fuller. This has to be Trestman’s way of letting Bennett know that no one person is going to hold back this offense or this entire team. So to all of you who think that this disciplinary action is unnecessary, think again.
Bennett did try to undermine the incident by saying that it was only practice, but we’ve all heard of the saying “you play the way you practice.” Hopefully this will get Bennett’s head to where it needs to be going forward to the regular season.
Update 6:39pm EST: Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole is reporting that Bennett’s suspension also had to do with a “flare up” between him and Brandon Marshall.