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Tuesday's NFL: Pro Bowl DE Michael Bennett announces retirement

Detroit News Services

Michael Bennett, who won a Super Bowl as a defensive end with the Seattle Seahawks and made three Pro Bowls, says he is retiring.

Bennett, 34, played for five teams and was an integral part of the Seahawks’ 2014 NFL championship.

He said Tuesday on Instagram that the 2019 season, which he split between New England and Dallas, was his last.

In this Feb. 2, 2014 photo, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett celebrates with confetti on the field after the Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game, in East Rutherford, N.J. Bennett, who won a Super Bowl as a defensive end with the Seattle Seahawks and made three Pro Bowls, says he is retiring.

“Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I’m looking forward to the rebirth – the opportunity to reimagine my purpose,” Bennett posted. “I would like to thank my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much for me to succeed. I’m looking forward to supporting them the same way they have me these past 11 years. I have never been more at peace in my life.”

Bennett had 69½ career sacks in 11 pro seasons. He entered the NFL in 2009 with Tampa Bay, then made his biggest impact with Seattle, which he joined for that Super Bowl season. His three Pro Bowl years came with the Seahawks, whom he joined on a one-year deal in free agency before getting a four-year contract in 2014.

Bennett moved on to Philadelphia in 2018, then played six games with the Patriots and nine with the Cowboys last year.

A strong pass rusher, he also was solid against the run and had 10 forced fumbles in his career.

Bennett’s brother Martellus was an NFL tight end.

Helmet decals

The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of racism and police violence.

The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names or initials. 

Unlike the NBA, which is allowing players to wear slogans on their jerseys, the NFL will stick to names and initials once a final agreement has been reached with the players’ association. The program will continue for the entire season.

This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has not allowed such messaging, except for during its October NFL Crucial Catch program in conjunction with the fight against breast cancer, and in its November salutes to the military. Players also have been allowed to represent a cause on their cleats one weekend per season.

But a 17-week campaign such as the one being planned is something new for the NFL.

A list of names and initials for use on the helmet decals is being put together by the league and the NFLPA. Players have been encouraged to provide those names and initials.

Extra points

Packers CEO Mark Murphy says he expects the team’s home games this season will have no more than 10,000-12,000 fans, if spectators are allowed at all.

The Packers had announced two weeks ago that their 81,441-seat Lambeau Field would have a “significantly reduced” capacity this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Murphy revealed Tuesday the magnitude of that reduction while expressing optimism a season would be played.

Murphy said he believes the Packers are well positioned to handle this pandemic. He noted the team has a corporate reserve fund totaling $411 million.

The Packers are coming off a year that featured soaring profits and a record $506.9 million in total revenue. Those figures are based on the Packers’ financial reports from the fiscal year ending March 31.

... Washington’s NFL team hired TV reporter, anchor and host Julie Donaldson to oversee its broadcast operation and be a member of a three-person radio booth for games.

Citing NFL Research, the team said Tuesday that Donaldson will be the first woman to be a regular on-air member of an NFL radio broadcast booth. She will not do play-by-play calls but will help choose who does.

Donaldson will be the team’s senior vice president of media, an announcement that comes less than a week after longtime broadcaster Larry Michael announced he was leaving Washington after 16 years.