Michael Bennett still isn’t among Jimmy Graham’s biggest supporters.
In an interview Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Justin and Gee” show, the Seahawks outspoken defensive lineman didn’t back down from comments he made in January 2014 criticizing his new teammate after Seattle beat the New Orleans Saints, Graham’s former team, in the NFC divisional round.
“Nobody likes Jimmy Graham. I think he’s one of the softest players in the NFL,” Bennett said at the time. “I think he’s overrated and I really don’t like him as a person or as a player . . . When he’s not in the game, he’s not in the game. He doesn’t help on the blocking plays. I think he’s just overrated.”
The Seahawks traded Pro Bowl C Max Unger and a first-round pick to the Saints for Graham and a fourth-rounder earlier this off-season. So Bennett and Graham will now share the same locker room.
Now might be a good time for coach Pete Carroll to invoke his kumbaya approach.
“I still feel the same way. I mean, just because he’s on my team I don’t stop feeling that way,” Bennett said Thursday. “Obviously I’m going to be a better teammate to him because he’s on my team. I can’t do the things I was doing to him when we were playing him.
“When he comes to our team, he’s a part of our team. We have a different philosophy than they had with the Saints so the things that he was expected to do (with) the Saints are going to be different when he comes here.”
Noting that the Seahawks are a running team, Bennett said Graham is “going to have to block and do all those things.”
However, he did admit that his perception of the Pro Bowl tight end has changed slightly.
“I don’t feel as harsh as I did at the time because he’s my teammate now,” he said. “But at the time he was on the opposite team, a team that we played that was pretty good and we battled with them a couple times. I didn’t really like that team.”
Bennett also denied the off-season report from Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he demanded for a trade to the Atlanta Falcons, saying “I’m still trying to figure out what happened.”
“I didn’t come to them and ask for a trade,” he added. “I’m still trying to figure out how this guy from Dallas made up a story about me while I’m living in Seattle.”
“They made rumors about Jesus,” he quipped at the start of the interview. “They’ll make rumors about anybody.”