Michael Bennett done being reserved, ready to become more vocal


Coming to Philadelphia, Michael Bennett was in a bit of a strange situation. 

Bennett, who just turned 33 this week, had been a leader in Seattle for years, but this offseason he was traded to an Eagles team that was coming off a Super Bowl and seemed to already have a leadership group intact. 

So he felt like he had to tread lightly for a while. 

"But there's times where you know you're supposed to lead," Bennett said to NBC Sports Philadelphia this week. "And for me, that time is now. I can't hold back anything anymore because you don't have time to hold back."

Early in the season, Bennett wasn't even a starter and he wasn't producing at his normal rate. But recently, not only has Bennett assumed a starting role after Derek Barnett went to IR, he's also been one of the best players on the team. In the last six games, he has 5½ sacks. And he's feeling more empowered to let himself be heard. 

In recent weeks, Bennett has been speaking up more and he said he wants to start becoming even more vocal. He thinks his experiences can help the rest of his teammates and vice versa. 

I feel like people are responding to it. At first, you want to be reserved, but that's not me. That's not who I am as a person. The person I am, I've always stood for what I believe in, regardless. This is not a moment not to do that, not to remind us of what it takes to rekindle a relationship. Sometimes, when you play sports, you assume the relationship is great every single day. You have to be able to work on those relationships, work on evolving with the team. That's where we're at now. 

"Doing the little small things that we did before when we were the underdogs, not as the champions. 'Oh, maybe we don't need to run.' No, we need to run harder. We need to take one more step. 'Maybe we don't need to study.' No, we need to study five more minutes. Everything is about taking the next step for the growth that we need as an individual and as a team.

Bennett has been a reigning Super Bowl champion before too. After winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2013 season, the Seahawks went back the following year, only to lose to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. That means he's the only guy on this roster who has been to back-to-back Super Bowls with the same team. He might be the only guy who truly knows what it takes. 

So as the Eagles try to recover from a 4-5 start, they could stand to listen to Bennett a little more. 

"After you go to the Super Bowl, the essence of everything is 'win, win, win.' And sometimes, you start to lose a little bit when you lose," he said. "And that's what you can't do. You have to still keep your swagger regardless of what's happening. Because the world doesn't want to see you win. The story is you losing. You have to be able to stand tall with your teammates."

That's similar to what the Eagles' captains said this week about their roles as leaders and similar to what Doug Pederson said he wanted from his leaders. The younger players on this team are watching. They're going to feed off of the energy provided by the vets. They're going to notice if there are heads hanging and folks are moping around the facility. 

And Bennett also echoed Pederson's message. He said everyone needs to ask themselves if they can do more. He said he thinks it now comes down to leadership. 

When I approached Bennett to chat on Thursday, he was apprehensive. He didn't want to become a willing participant in a story he thought might end up sounding negative. The Eagles are 4-5 and that's probably not what Bennett would have expected when he was traded to Philadelphia in March. But it's clear he's staying positive through these early-season struggles. 

"I feel like it's just beginning," Bennett said. "I feel like a team is not judged on what they do in a comfort zone. They're really judged on adversity. How well can you face adversity? And there've been times where we haven't faced it very well, so it's time for us to face it. And we've been in every game except for, really, the Buccaneers game. And really getting back into the fold of everything and capitalizing on it is the big thing. I just think we need to finish."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Contact Us