Martellus Bennett: Football Made Me an 'Angry Person'; It's 'Dangerous S--t'February 3, 2021
Super Bowl champion Martellus Bennett said Tuesday playing in the NFL had a negative impact on his mental health.
"Honestly football made me such an angry person, everything bothered me," Bennett wrote on Twitter. "Football is interesting. Psychologically, it's some really dangerous s--t. To really play the game of football, you have to some f--ked up wiring in your head."
The Pro Bowl tight end played 10 seasons across stints with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers from 2008 through 2017.
Bennett's comments came as part of an extended thread about the lifelong impacts of football from an early age all the way through an NFL career. He cautioned "most of your favorite players aren't good people" and warned parents to watch coaches closely.
"It's chaotic. It takes years and years of brainwashing to go along with a lot of the s--t," Bennett wrote. "... It starts at peewee. That's why you gotta watch who is coaching your kids and what they're teaching them beyond the game."
He added: "Most of these coaches aren't good men. Most of them are egotistical small d--k heroes. They love the spotlight just as much as the players. ... And they be dumb too."
The 33-year-old Houston native stated the negative impact carries beyond the end of some players' careers because they continue to crave the spotlight, which can lead them to a "dark place":
"But yea, football really f--ks up your mental. Integrating back into everyday society after a career continues to be a struggle for a lot of guys. The PTSD. The Identity Crisis. The pain. ...
"Also no longer being 'famous' some guys need that stardom well they don't NEED it but they crave it. How could you not it's been a drug since childhood. You've been a star for forever but how can you shine without the game. ...
"Another thing that be happening is most guys don't know how to make money. Making money is hard as f--k. Wants your body break down that money machine is gone. And unfortunately the spare parts in the mind that don't break are so rusty you get discouraged when trying to use em."
Bennett added NFL players may seem like larger-than-life figures on the field but that comes with "a lot of physical and mental abuse" to reach the pro level.
"Athletes mask their pain everyday for years to be tough," he wrote. "Do you know how thick that mask becomes after years and years of wearing it. And what type of inner struggle it creates when it comes to communicating the pains you endure after."
Bennett has transitioned to post-football life by creating a production company, The Imagination Agency, a storytelling studio that creates books and other media for children.