Seahawks DE Michael Bennett overlooked no more

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm •  Published: January 28, 2014
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Michael Bennett didn't want to repeat his description of his sack dance.

He can be creative and outrageous enough to invent the pro wrestling-inspired, hip-gyrating move, then dub it "two angels dancing while chocolate is coming from the heavens on a nice Sunday morning." But he's also quiet enough — in public, at least — to hope to avoid drawing more attention to himself.

Overlooked for most of his football career, the Seattle Seahawks defensive end is suddenly in demand. Hard to miss his 8½ sacks during the regular season for the NFC's top team, his fumble recovery in the conference title game.

"Now it's great for the world to get to see him," said his younger brother, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett.

Martellus is creative, outrageous but happy to draw attention — and has always received plenty. He was widely considered the country's top tight end prospect in high school; Michael, a year older, was lightly recruited and initially signed with Louisiana Tech, not exactly the SEC. Martellus was a second-round draft pick; Michael went undrafted.

He signed with the Seahawks but was cut midway through his rookie season.

"I just always kept going," Michael said. "It's all about how you think about yourself. There's a lot of people who get chances and they do nothing with them. The chances I get, I make the most of them."

He was picked up by the Buccaneers and steadily matured into a pass-rushing force. Bennett led Tampa Bay in sacks with nine last season, but the Bucs declined to place the franchise tag on him.

So he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the team that once released him.

Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had kept in touch over the years and was thrilled to watch his progress from afar. He knew Bennett could line up effectively at both end and tackle, a versatile player for a versatile defense.

"He's one of these guys that is so bright that he can handle all the different (positions)," Quinn said.

Bennett downplays the sting of past slights. His friend and fellow defensive lineman Red Bryant sees it differently.

"That's one of the things that drives him," said Bryant, who has known Bennett for a decade.

A late bloomer, Bennett was able to reopen his recruiting when he wasn't initially eligible at Louisiana Tech. He chose Texas A&M, where he first teamed with Bryant.

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