Michael Bennett looks like his younger brother, sounds like his younger brother and excels in the NFL just like his younger brother. Just don’t expect the Seahawks’ veteran defensive lineman to promote himself like Martellus Bennett, the flamboyant former Giants tight end who even gave himself his own nickname — “The Black Unicorn.” “Nah, you won’t see me giving myself a nickname or telling all my business on Twitter like him,” Michael Bennett said with a laugh this week as the Seahawks prepared for Super Bowl XLVIII. “I look at his Twitter feed sometimes, and I’m like, ‘Man, people really tweet everything!’ That’s crazy to me.” Michael, who at 28 is two years older than Martellus, might not be the self-promoter that his sibling is as a popular member of the Bears, but Michael’s play on the field speaks just as loudly. A former undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers who signed a one-year, $4.8 million deal with Seattle in the offseason, Bennett has emerged as a key — and versatile — member of the top-ranked defense that carried the Seahawks into their Feb. 2 matchup with the Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Seeing time at both left and right end as part of arguably the deepest defensive-line rotation in the league, Bennett recorded 8 ¹/₂ sacks, forced four fumbles and recovered three others (both fumble totals were career highs) despite starting just three games. Bennett has been just as productive in the playoffs, with 1¹/₂ sacks and five tackles in the Seahawks’ victories over the Saints and 49ers. “Nothing he does surprises me, because Michael has a work ethic that’s second-to-none,” Seahawks defensive line coach Travis Jones said. “He’s liable to bump into you in the hallway around here because he has his head buried in his iPad, studying the playbook and the game plan.” Bennett is a forgiving sort, too, considering this is his second go-round with the Seahawks. He made Seattle’s roster undrafted in 2009 out of Texas A&M, only to be released by then-coach Jim Mora Jr. in October to make room for fellow defensive lineman Kyle Williams. Bennett caught on with the Buccaneers and slowly became a cornerstone for Tampa Bay, building his sack total each season until his breakout season — nine sacks and three forced fumbles — in 2012. “I’ve just been improving every year,” Bennett said. “That’s how you become one of the better players in the league. Some guys start off fast, then don’t make any plays after that. But I just have a hunger to get better.” Bennett thought that big season for the Buccaneers would pay off in free-agent riches last spring, especially considering quality pass rushers who can play both end and tackle are usually difficult to find. But once the top tier of young ends were signed, it inexplicably turned into a buyer’s market. The Seahawks took advantage, with general manager John Schneider nabbing two of the best available — Bennett and Detroit’s Cliff Avril — on the cheap to bolster an already formidable front. Bennett said he was willing to give Seattle another chance and take a relatively cheap offer because he saw a championship team in the making. That vision proved to be prophetic. “I envisioned going to the Super Bowl, because I saw there were so many great players here and everyone’s very unselfish,” he said. “When both of those things come together, great things happen.” Bennett will be an unrestricted free agent again after this season, and said Martellus has been lobbying him hard to join him in Chicago. Michael sounded reluctant to sign with the Bears, citing the intense cold and whether it would be the “right” situation, but a Bennett brothers NFL reunion is still the grand plan.
Unlike bro Martellus, Seahawks’ Michael Bennett does job quietly
New York Post | Jan 25