Patriots Once 'Sacked' Bennett; Does Cowboys D-Lineman Seek 'Revenge' Today?

Mike Fisher

FOXBORO, MASS - Michael Bennett has three sacks in three games as a member of the Dallas Cowboys after having been "sacked'' by New England and then traded to Dallas. But Bennett swears if he performs well again today in Cowboys-at-Patriots, it'll have nothing to do with "revenge.''

“It’s never personal in the NFL,'' Bennett said. "It’s always business. I’m at the point now where I don’t have to prove myself. You go out there, you play as hard as you can, simply not for yourself but for your teammates every single time I go out there.

“It’s not really about me. It’s really about the guys lined up that are lined up next to me.”

Bennett's comments are, as always, delivered in a near-whisper. But his play has been ferocious since the Cowboys dealt a conditional seventh-round pick to New England for the veteran defensive lineman. He can be an enigmatic guy; Bennett, 34, sometimes, as one source put it to me, "marches to the beat of his own drummer'' at practice, for instance. But in other moments, he assumes a leadership position, as he did before last week's win at Detroit.

“Michael has played very well for us,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Very impactful both in the run game and affecting the quarterback. We’ve gone against him for a lot of years now. … He’s hard to block.”

Dallas hopes that is the case this weekend in Cowboys-at-Patriots, and Bennett does, too.

“We’ve got a lot of growth,” he said. “There’s a lot of football that’s being played in September and October, but those games are just kind of 'games.' I think November and December is kind of where champions are made.''

The Patriots are 9-1 and seem as dynastic as ever. And Bennett offered the reason why.

"I learned a lot about football in New England,'' Bennett said. “As a player you go into the situation and you think you know football, then you meet somebody who’s above you (Belichick) and knows everything about the game. For me, I learned a lot about football ... learning how to execute at a high level, learning what it takes to develop players. I learned what it feels like to break down a game plan from a different perspective, and I think it was good for me as a player. If I ever want to be a coach, it would be a good situation to take into that.

Bennett offered more on the legendary Belichick, who suspended him just before trading him.

“At the end of the day, I just think Bill is a great motivator. I think he understands football from the beginning,” he said. “He’s a historian when it comes to football, plays. He can remember anything when it comes to it. He’s just a savant. I think he just knows how to put people in great positions to make plays, and I think you always go over every single thing about the game, the things that teams do, the chances that they might take, and I think probability plays a lot into the execution of the team.”

Bennett has talked of this being his final year in football, and maybe that is how his fine career will play out. If so, a high-water mark in that career would include having a Cowboys impact in a defeat of the Patriots. "It's always business,'' yes. But business in the NFL can be a very personal thing.

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