Bennett arrives, speaks out on 1st day of Seahawks camp
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Michael Bennett jogged out from the locker room, the last healthy Seattle Seahawks player to emerge from the team's practice facility, answering the one lingering question as one of the NFC favorites opened training camp on Saturday.
No, there wouldn't be a holdout for the Seahawks to deal with on the first day of camp.
''I just want to show up and be a great teammate,'' Bennett said. ''No distractions for the team. I just want to be a Seahawk for the rest of my life.''
Over the past year, Bennett has noted his displeasure with the contract he signed after Seattle won the Super Bowl in 2014. He considered holding out before training camp last season, but then showed up on time and had arguably the most productive season of his career with 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Bennett was selected to the Pro Bowl last season as well.
Even with his arrival for the start of camp, Bennett would still like to see his contract improved. Seattle's precedent has been not to renegotiate deals that have more than one year remaining. And for now, that remains the case with Bennett.
''That's up for the coaches and my agent to take care of. I don't want to stir anything up in the media, he said, she said, whenever,'' Bennett said. ''What happens will happen and you guys will be the first to know.''
While Bennett's arrival and contract status was the focus, the conversation quickly turned to the Black Lives Matter shirt he put on before addressing the media. Bennett also has been outspoken regarding social issues.
''It means everything to me. It's about social change, and change economically and just change everything that is going on in society right now,'' Bennett said. ''You just want to be a good advocate for speaking up for what is going on and making sure you have great influencers.''
Bennett was highly complimentary of players in the NBA and WNBA who have spoken out in recent weeks.
He criticized some NFL players for not being as outspoken as contemporaries in other sports leagues, but he noted the lack of guaranteed contracts in the NFL may be a deterrent that keep some from speaking out.
''You don't see a lot of the greatest players talking about things socially. Whether it's Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, all these guys, they're white, they don't have to deal with the things we have to deal with as black players,'' Bennett said. ''In the NBA, everybody is standing up for it, so the greatest players are in the forefront of movement. Here in the NFL, the greatest players aren't in the forefront of the movement. Whether it's the CBA, whether it's things going on, changing concussions, the greatest players aren't involved like LeBron James and Chris Paula and all these guys. Our players are sitting back just taking the dollars, whether it's Cam Newton, all these guys, they're not at the forefront of trying to change what is going on.''
Also Saturday, coach Pete Carroll addressed his three-year contract extension agreed to earlier this week that keeps him under contract with the Seahawks through the 2019 season. Carroll is the oldest coach in the NFL and will turn 65 in September but said he has no plans of slowing down.
Carroll also said it was vitally important to continue his working relationship with general manager John Schneider, who signed a five-year extension through the 2021 season.
''That's just the next stop along the way,'' Carroll said of 2019. ''I know you guys keep wondering how long I'm going to coach or whatever. I have no end to this. I'm just going for it. I'm going to go as long as it's fun and it's good and we're winning games.''
NOTES: TE Jimmy Graham (knee) and RB Thomas Rawls (ankle) are starting camp on the physically unable to perform list but can be activated at any time. Carroll said the duo will be evaluated in four-day segments as to their availability to start practicing. ... Carroll confirmed DE Chris Clemons has decided to retire. Clemons had signed a one-year deal with Seattle in the offseason. ''He just didn't want to play anymore.'' ... DT Sealver Siliga was placed on the non-football injury list. Carroll said he suffered a calf injury during the offseason.