RENTON — Outspoken and often funny, Seahawks DT/DE Michael Bennett is a reporter’s dream. Right up until he makes a media member the target of one of his jokes. Actually, most of his quips are entertaining, not mean-spirited. They’re typically followed by a legitimate answer.
Case in point: Asked Wednesday to outline why 5-foot-11, 229-pound Packers RB Eddie Lacy is unique, Bennett used a Seattle radio personality’s body type as a reference.
“Eddie Lacy’s kind of built like you, man,” Bennett said. “He’s slightly a bit overweight. But he can run the ball really good, man. He breaks a lot of tackles, he does a lot. He’s just a good back. Any back that Nick Saban coached at Alabama is going to have that meanness and that streak to carry a load because he runs the ball so much. He’s brought that same thing to the NFL.”
A few minutes after the chuckles subsided from those gathered Wednesday around Bennett’s locker in the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, a gray-haired reporter asked the defensive lineman about the effect veteran NT Kevin Williams had on Seattle’s defensive line.
Kevin Williams came into your team 34 years old, but now he feels he’s 28, being around all these young guys. What do you get from a guy who’s played in the league for this long?
“He probably feels like you when you’re around all these young journalists,” Bennett joked. “Obviously, Kevin is going to the HOF, he’s made a lot of plays, been to all the Pro Bowls you can go to. All-Pros. He’s done everything you can possibly do in this league.”
Asked if he is surprised by the way Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is able to escape pressure without being a top-tier athlete, Bennett sounded off:
“I don’t know what the greatest athlete looks like, but for his position he’s a great athlete. He’s able to run the ball, he’s able to throw the ball the way he needs to throw it. You don’t have to be athletic to play quarterback.
“You see Peyton Manning. My sister could probably beat him in the (40-yard-dash), but he’s got all the MVPs with the way he’s able to throw the ball. I think Aaron’s done that. He’s great at what he does. He’s able to move around the pocket, throw the ball, get the first down when he needs to and manage the game.”
The Seahawks posted 37 sacks during the regular season, 20th in the NFL. Bennett had seven, but he doesn’t feel the stat often used to evaluate a team’s pass rush has much value when it comes to a team’s success.
“Show me all the guys with the top sacks who are playing right now,” he said. “They’re all at home. You got your J.J. Watt. You got your Mario Williams. You got your Connor Barwin. Who else you got that have a lot of sacks? They’re all sitting at home right now watching us play.
“So obviously sacks aren’t that important. It’s about winning. That’s all that matters is how you win the game. All the stats are for the media. Y’all can go out and do your fantasy football and say one guy is better than the other guy, you can say who’s All-Pro, who’s Pro Bowl. Playing in a Super Bowl is way better than a Pro Bowl I can guarantee you.”
After the Seahawks’ 31-17 win over Carolina in the NFC divisional round, Bennett, in a celebratory locker room, said he wasn’t going to change anything about his routine in the week leading up to the NFC title game Sunday against the Packers. That included, in his words, not having sex on Wednesdays, watching the television drama “Homeland” and “just chilling.”
Apparently, he isn’t sticking to the script.
“Today, I’m in,” he said. “Tomorrow I’m out. I gotta call my wife and tell her to put the kids to bed early.”