Martellus Bennett knows what is expected of him in Chicago. Bennett spent four years in Dallas, where playing behind tight end Jason Witten stunted his opportunities. After racking-up 626 yards on 55 receptions and scoring five touchdowns as part of the New York Giants last season, Bennett cashed-in and came to the Bears as a free agent during the off-season.
Bears GM Phil Emery inked the 26 year-old tight end to a four year deal worth $20.4 million. Although less than half of the total is guaranteed ($9.215 million), Bennett knows he has to answer on the field. Following the Bears opening training camp practice, as reported for CBS by Adam Hoge:
[O]n, playing with a bigger contract: "It's like that Spiderman quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.'" And when someoone pointed out that that quote is actually from the Bible, Bennett responded: "Jesus said it. Peter Parker's uncle said it, I mean, it's been around for a long time."
When asked by reporters about his nickname- the Black Unicorn- he was happy to explain:
"Basically, black unicorns are rare. Any time you see a picture, it's a white unicorn. Being African-American, I thought it would be clever to be the black unicorn... unicorns are cool, but I prefer dinosaurs honestly. One day I had on black tights, I was running down the field, and I felt like a unicorn. I didn't feel like a horse. I felt like a unicorn... It's magical. I enjoy it."
This was part of Bennett's opening press conference following his signing with the Chicago Bears. The entire session, as recapped by CBS's Josh Katzowtiz, was something to behold:
"I'm excited to be a Chicago Bear. Bears are one of my favorite animals-- after dinosaurs. I don't think there are any dinosaurs in the NFL, so a Bear is a good thing to be" This, mind you, was in his initial statement. So his first public sentences as a member of the Chicago franchise featured dinosaurs and the possibility of that species in the NFL... More from Bennett: "I fit in well most places-- whether it's the zoo or the classroom."
Bennett has not failed to continue putting his sense of humor on display, and has been entertaining throughout the preseason. On August 21, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN recounted another fantastic drop from the Bears' new tight end:
Bennett promises that Jay Cutler will know when he's open down the field. "He sees me; I'm 6-foot-7, a big black guy running down the middle of the field. He sees me," Bennett said. "I wear while gloves so he can see the white gloves when I wave them like Mickey Mouse. I clap when I'm open. So I do enough to let him know that I'm open when I have to tell him... Even when I'm not open I tell him I was open."
Bennett's attempts to earn Cutler's undivided attention do not end on the field. As reported by Hoge, Bennett explained his off-the-field efforts:
"When we watch film I sit right behind him so I can whisper in his ear. It sounds kind of creepy, but I sit right behind him so I can whisper in his ear and ask him, 'Hey is that what you wanted?' And he'll just give me a thumb up. I know I probably get on his nerves because I'm always talking to him."
Bennett certainly understands the importance of his need to produce for the Chicago Bears, and appears to be preparing himself to earn the deal Emery signed him to. At the very least, Bennett himself is confident that he will deliver, and clearly will be nothing short of entertaining no matter the outcome.
"To know me is to love me," he claimed to reporters last week. So far, that certainly is the case. If Bennett can couple on-the-field success with his over-the-top and endearing personality, he will become a legend in this town before long.
Note: see also this video- his retelling of when he caught a fan who had fallen from the seats: http://youtu.be/-D40syUMnic