Bears suspend Martellus Bennett

ByMichael C. Wright ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 6, 2014

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was fined and suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after the veteran was involved in a fight at practice Monday with rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller, general manager Phil Emery announced Tuesday.

Emery did not specify the length of the suspension nor disclose the amount of the fine.

"Last night, we made a decision to fine and suspend Martellus Bennett for an undetermined length of time," Emery said Tuesday. "This is a process that we're working with Martellus. We are in contact with him.

"Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He's a very loved and respected teammate. We want him back, but it's a process we have to work through."

Bennett was absent from Tuesday's workout, and Emery said the tight end is not with the team at training camp on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. He will remain on the active roster, Emery said, "but he will not be involved in any team activities at this time."

"I have been in contact with Phil," Bennett's agent, Kennard McGuire, said in a statement. "We will keep those discussions between us. Martellus looks forward to rejoining his teammates."

Bennett's dustup with Fuller took place after a routine play in which the first-round draft pick attempted to strip the ball loose after the tight end made a reception.

While attempting to force a fumble, Fuller grabbed near the chest area of Bennett's shoulder pads and pulled him to the ground. Bennett rose to his feet, walked toward Fuller and pushed him before body-slamming the rookie to the ground.

The fracas required several players to break up and led coach Marc Trestman to end practice earlier than scheduled.

In the aftermath of the fight, Lamarr Houston, Matt Forte and Zach Miller tried to calm Bennett, who was also yelling at star receiver Brandon Marshall. Several players voiced disgust on the field as the fight was being broken up. Even offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer walked over to try to calm Bennett.

Minutes later, Bennett showed little remorse in talking about the incident.

"Everybody talks about friendships, but really we are all preparing to win a championship," Bennett said. "If we make friends along the way, cool. But I'm just trying to help the Bears win a championship and do the job to the best of my ability."

Asked if the fight ultimately was a detriment to the team, Bennett said, "It's practice. I know I sound like Allen Iverson right now, but it's practice. [Expletive] happens at practice. You learn from it. That's why it's practice."

Bennett was later asked whether he expected to be fined by Trestman. The tight end remained petulant.

"I can afford it," he said.

The Bears apparently put that to the test by deciding to fine and suspend Bennett. Emery also declined to discuss Bennett's reaction to the team's decision or what it would take for the suspension to be lifted.

"He's an active part of that process," Emery said. "We work through as a staff collectively and hear everybody out. We reached a conclusion that this is the best course of action.

"We think through all the dynamics to each and every situation. They're all individual. This is where we're at with Martellus. Again, he's a very important part of this team, and he's a beloved teammate. We look forward to having him back as soon as possible."

Trestman said after Tuesday's practice that he would be speaking with Bennett later in the day.

"We've got a plan and a process in place, and as I told the team today, we love him. He works hard. He loves football. He's a good father, and we want to get him back as soon as we can, and we'll go through this process and when the time is right he'll be back," he said.

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