Former Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett is retiring. But his productive days in Seattle should definitely be remembered.
Michael Bennett will never be a Hall of Famer. He was a very good, and sometimes great, player. But not one of the best to ever play. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to diss Bennett. During his time with the Seahawks, Bennett was probably my favorite player.
Michael Bennett announced his retirement this week. This offseason, no team had offered Bennett enough to come back to play in 2020 so he decided to be proactive and end his career. No team was going to pay Bennett much this year. But he had a great career.
The reason I liked Bennett is that he was basically like the rest of humanity. He had to work for what he got. He came into the league in 2009 as an undrafted free agent and had to work his way onto an active roster, which he did with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But Bennett didn’t stop there because he kept working and made himself into a Pro Bowl defensive end. Between 2015 and 2017 with the Seahawks, Bennett made the Pro Bowl each year. And he was wildly consistent with Seattle with between 7 sacks and 10 sacks in his five years in Seattle, except for an injury-shortened 2016 when he still had 5 sacks in 11 games.
But Bennett was much more than a sack guy. He was versatile and smart. The smart part is important. Bennett became a very good player by understanding the weaknesses of other players and using that weakness against them. He was never going to win a skills competition but he didn’t need to. Michael Bennett was a football player.
If the Seahawks needed Bennett to play inside, he could. To play a pure edge rusher, he could do that too. Because Michael Bennett made himself a player capable of doing so. Lots of players rest on their physical traits. Bennett never did.
He was a disruptor that teams had to scheme for. For instance, even though the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in the 2014 Super Bowl, Bennett couldn’t be blocked well. He had 4 quarterback hits. In 10 postseason games for Seattle, he had 7 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Of course, off the field, Bennett was outspoken and not all people liked what he had to say about race relations or anything else. But unlike Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, Bennett was not a problem in the locker room and was not among a small group of players who seemingly did not care for Russell Wilson.
I wish Bennett had played one more season and that his last year would have been with the Seahawks in 2020. In 2019, Bennett had 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Both numbers would have led last season’s Seattle team. He can still play but he is choosing not to. Number 72 will be missed.