Martellus Bennett of the Chicago Bears led NFL tight ends with 90 receptions in 2014. However, he isn't happy with the praise some other top tight ends in the league are receiving, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com.
He was animated Thursday after practice when voicing his opinion:
You see Jimmy [Graham]. Jimmy can't block worth s--t. They get a lot of credit and a lot of love. But Julius Thomas doesn't block anybody. Antonio Gates doesn't really block anybody. But they do a great job in the passing game. It all depends on the system that they're in.
It seems as though Bennett snapped after not hearing his name mentioned as one of the best tight ends in the league.
Bennett wasn't done yet, per Dickerson. "I have to kick ass at the line of scrimmage and kick ass down the field," Bennett said. "Those guys are pass-catching tight ends, and they get that freedom to run down the field. Nobody is asking them to pass-protect or be one-on-one with the No. 1 pass-rusher."
Let's take a look at how the Bears tight end has compared to his counterparts since the start of the 2013 season:
|Martellus Bennett vs. Top Tight Ends (2013-Present)|
|Name||Games||Receptions||Rec. Yards||Rec. TD||Targets|
Looking at the stats, it's safe to say Bennett can hang with the tight ends he mentioned. His touchdown numbers are lower, but that may be the reason he perceives the other players are receiving more attention. For all his talk about blocking and other duties, he has the second-most targets out of the group, so quarterback Jay Cutler is looking his way.
In fact, he has been catching the ball at a higher rate than nearly every other tight end in the NFL since joining the Bears in 2013, according to Zach Zaidman of the Chicago Bears Radio Network:
He later toned down his comments, possibly anticipating some backlash, per Dickerson:
[I don't want to] be a bad employee. I just keep my head down and go to work. Because when you say something you become the a-----e even if it's a valid point. So I just avoid drama. They don't pay the a------e. At this point I just want to be a really good employee.
It's possible the league will come down on him with a fine for remarks aimed at fellow players, but the comments should blow over quickly. He may, however, have provided bulletin-board material for Gates. The San Diego Chargers will host the Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 9, and you can be sure Gates has already gotten wind of the comments.
May the best tight end win.