AL HAMNIK: Bears' Martellus Bennett ready to rewrite Bears tight end history

2013-07-27T17:30:00Z 2013-09-21T20:20:12Z AL HAMNIK: Bears' Martellus Bennett ready to rewrite Bears tight end historyAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
July 27, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

BOURBONNAIS | You're going to love Martellus Bennett.

You're going to want him for retirement dinners, poker night, Tupper Ware parties, garage sales, etc.

You think Brandon Marshall has loads of personality and charm. Well, Martellus Bennett wrote the book.

He lights up any room faster than fresh paint.

The Bears' new tight end looks like he was born to play that position at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. He spent his first four seasons with the Cowboys and last year with the Giants, establishing himself as a threat each time he touched the ball.

On the first day of NFL free agency last March, the Bears signed the former Texas A&M star to a four-year contract, then breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Their tight ends were a joke last season, combining for only 29 receptions -- fewest in the NFL for a second straight year.

Shoot. Bennett established personal highs last season with 56 receptions for 626 yards and five TDs, playing all 16 games for the first time in his career.

Bennett has made it a priority to know quarterback Jay Cutler like a first cousin, though the moody Cutler can be a tough nut to crack.

"I think we're pretty cool," Bennett said. "Communication is the biggest thing. I talk to him every single play, whether it's a completion, an incompletion. I come back and ask him 'Did you like this? Is there anything else I can do better? Or is that what you expected?'

"I say the same thing when we watch film. I sit right behind him so I can whisper in his ear. Sounds kinda creepy, I know."

Unlike Cutler, Bennett loves to talk, so quite often his questions will result merely in a thumbs up response.

"I know I probably get on his nerves 'cause I'm always talking to him," Bennett said.

Bennett stayed in Chicago after signing on, working out almost daily and running routes for backup QB Matt Blanchard. New head coach Marc Trestman was quick to tell Bennett footballs will be flying this season like geese heading south.

"I'm probably the most interesting person on the team," Bennett said. "But Cutler gets up and walks away from me all the time. Quarterbacks always get up 'cause I start crazy conversations.

"I just be messin' with 'em, seeing what they think."

Trestman wants his players to interact with each other and all the assistant coaches, no matter what side of the ball they're on, because of the many new faces.

"It's been fun, like going to a new school," Bennett said.

Cutler rolls his eyes whenever the "Black Unicorn" -- Bennett's nickname -- is mentioned.

"We're working on it," he said of their relationship. "The thing about him is he wants to be great; he doesn't want to be good.

"He's a rare breed. He's able to block, he's able to run. He's got a really good feel in the passing game."

Bennett knows the Bears' sorry history at tight end, where he considers Mike Ditka and Greg Olsen as the best this franchise ever had.

"But I'm different from all those guys and they're different from me," Bennett said. "I'm trying to make my own brand at tight end for the Chicago Bears."

This weekend, coaches ran Bennett out of several different formations and he performed well in getting open and catching the football.

"I'm like a chameleon," he said. "I fit in anywhere."

I'll say it again. You're going to love this guy.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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