After 'family issue,' Michael Bennett arrives at camp

Michael Bennett has finally arrived for Patriots training camp, albeit a few days late.

All is well, however, as they were excused (though somewhat mysterious) absences, presumably with a note from his head coach.

Bennett arrived Sunday in Foxborough to take part in his first full-pads practice as a member of the Patriots, four months and change after they traded a fifth-round pick to the Eagles for him.

As the defensive end was excused from the first three practices by coach Bill Belichick for personal reasons, rumors swirled as to why Bennett was missing.

"I didn't retire," Bennett said via the Associated Press. "I heard everybody said I was retiring, and I was laughing at home. I just had a family issue that I had to take care of."

Bennett did not go into further detail regarding his absence, instead emphasizing his presence and why he reportedly took a red-eye flight from Hawaii to arrive in Boston on Sunday morning.

"You want to prove to your teammates that you love the game," said the 33-year old who's entering his 10th season with his fourth team and third in three seasons. "I grew up in the game. This game's been part of my life for more than 20 years, so every time I step on the field and I've got teammates that believe in me, I just want to go out and show them that in every single moment, I'm going to go as hard as I can."

Bennett, whose brother -- tight end Martellus -- previously played under Belichick, was quite complimentary and thankful for how his new coach handled his personal situation.

"It's nice when you have a coach that sees you as a human being and not just a number," said Bennett, who recorded nine sacks in 2018 and will be looked on to fill the void left by the departing Trey Flowers, who signed with the Lions. "If you have an issue, you're able to go and talk to him, and tell him what's going on, and you're able to go and take care of it. That just makes you want to play harder for a coach that believes in you and lets you take care of your family first."

So, following some mystery and speculation, Bennett has arrived at Patriots training camp. He's ready to take on his new role as Patriots pass rusher and certainly isn't calling it a career.

"I haven't quit anything in a long time," Bennett said. "I don't even quit when I'm playing my daughter in checkers."

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