In a series of Instagram stories on Friday afternoon, former Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett gave his side of the story about the events leading to his release from the team.
Here is the transcribed text of his posts, which get into detail about his perspective on how the situation went down.
This shit crazy bruhhh... wow.
The packers examined my shoulder on my visit March 10 and cleared it. They even gave me an xray as well. It got worse during the season, specifically against the cowboys so I asked to have it checked and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now here we are...
They tried to f*** me over. Dr. McKenzie trying to cover his own ass. After trying to persuade me to play thru a major injury and me choosing to get surgery.
They have access to all my medical records. My shoulder wasn’t where it is now at the beginning of the season. I f***ed it up playing for the @packers.
Dr. McKenzie didn’t make [me] feel safe and was pushing [me] to play which I thought was weird. Not that he was trying to get me to play thru it but the way he was saying things. I didn’t trust him. So I got 3 other opinions from doctos who all said I need to get it fixed. So I decided to do that. And they decided to waive me with some bullshit excuse. Failure disclose.
Every week we do a body evaluation sheet in the weight [room] and pretty much every week I circled my shoulder. I kept playing but it got worse.
During the bye week I got off anti inflammatories to clean my system and could really feel the pain. So I asked to examine it first day back in. And that’s when we found out it was really f***ed up.
They panicked. Thinking that I was trying to go on IR and be on their books for next year. When I mentioned that I would possibly retire. So they tried to f*** me before they thought I would f*** them. This was all about money.
All about money. I get it. But don’t lie homie. You knew wtf was up.
I had intentions of playing all 8 games as I mentioned in the post during the bye week, but found out it was worse than I felt after getting it checked out.
Now I’m like f*** it.
I chose my health over the “team”. They chose money over me.
Beyond simply blaming the Packers organization for releasing him, Bennett is clearly putting heavy personal responsibility for this situation on Dr. Pat McKenzie, the Packers’ team physician. The strangest part of this claim, as Jason Wilde of ESPN notes, is that McKenzie and the Packers’ medical staff have a reputation for being one of the most conservative groups in the NFL. In fact, McKenzie serves as an orthopedic surgeon for the University of Oshkosh’s athletic programs, and UW-O women’s basketball coach Brad Fischer said on Friday that McKenzie has never once pushed a player to play inappropriately in his experience.
Furthermore, by addressing the examination of his shoulder in his initial visit and saying that it got “worse” when the Packers played the Cowboys, Bennett admits that there was an underlying issue with his shoulder. That will likely be a significant point of any dispute moving forward between Bennett and the team.
The biggest question arising from this situation is why Bennett’s desire to have surgery changed now that he has returned to New England, as he suited up for practice on Friday. That is a question that will also likely present itself at any arbitration hearing between him and the Packers, but there is one potential, simple explanation: Bennett was willing to tough it out to play with a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback and a contending team, but would not do so for a Packers squad that has Brett Hundley under center.
This situation looks like it’s only going to get uglier as the days and weeks go on.
* “C.R.E.A.M” appears to refer to a Wu-Tang Clan song, and is an acronym for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.”