Michael Bennett is walking away from the NFL.
The 11-year NFL veteran with three Pro Bowls to his name and a Super Bowl title as a member of one of the best defenses in NFL history in Seattle has announced his retirement.
"Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I'm looking forward to the rebirth -- the opportunity to reimagine my purpose," Bennett wrote on Instagram. "I would like to thank my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much for me to succeed. I'm looking forward to supporting them the same way they have me these past 11 years. I have never been more at peace in my life.
"As the great Toni Morrison said: 'Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.'"
Bennett, who started a podcast "Mouthpeace" with his wife and is developing his book Things that Make White People Uncomfortable into a TV script, told The New Yorker he considered retiring before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheltering in place with his family the past few months, however, solidified his decision.
After beginning his career in Tampa Bay, Bennett moved to Seattle, where he came into his own, proving a menace off the edge in Pete Carroll's defense. After five years with the Seahawks, he was traded to Philadelphia in 2018. Bennett spent 2019 with the New England Patriots for six games and the Dallas Cowboys for nine.
In his 11 seasons, Bennett compiled 359 tackles, 69.5 sacks and 13 forced fumbles.
In addition to spending more time with his family, Bennett told The New Yorker that he plans to help combat racial inequality and noted the lack of diversity among coaches and front offices in the NFL as pervasively inept.