Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett reportedly has bothered teammates and coaches with a lackadaisical effort at practice throughout training camp. After Bennett slammed teammate Kyle Fuller to the ground in practice on Monday, the Bears decided to make a statement.
General manager Phil Emery announced Tuesday that Bennett has been fined and suspended an undetermined amount of time for conduct detrimental to the team. Bennett was not at practice Tuesday. Under CBA rules, the maximum allowable discipline for conduct detrimental to the team is a fine of one-week salary and/or a four-week unpaid suspension.
Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Bennett's agent, Kennard McGuire, said that he has been in contact with Emery but wouldn't elaborate on the discussions. McGuire added that Bennett looks forward to rejoining his teammates.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Bennett slammed Fuller to the turf Tuesday after taking a hard hit. Coach Marc Trestman decided to cut practice short 10 minutes after Bennett took down the team's first-round pick.
"Every single play I'm scratching and fighting for everything," Bennett said. "Same way I play every single day. I play hard. I go hard every single day. I'm probably one of the most violent people on the field."
Bennett apparently doesn't "go hard" every play. It sounds like this fight was the last straw in a frustrating camp. Brad Biggs writes that Bennett's practice habits have been a consistent annoyance. While the rest of the team remains up-tempo between plays, Bennett is known for slowing down the action by taking his time to get ready. Bennett essentially admitted that he's not a great practice player.
"It's practice. Practice is practice," Bennett said Monday. "I know I sound like Allen Iverson right now, but at the end of the day it's practice. In practice, (stuff) happens. You learn from it, that's why you practice. You learn from things that happen in practice."
The Bears clearly didn't think Bennett was learning fast enough. This suspension was intended to get his attention.