“Downgrade” was the word NFL Network’s Peter Schrager used to describe the Green Bay Packers’ replacement of TE Jared Cook with Martellus Bennett. Needless to say Bennett didn’t take Schrager’s statement lightly.
What is Jonah Hill talking about? How is 318 catches 3441 yds 26 Tds over last 5 seasons a drop off vs 216 catches 2686 yds 13 tds? https://t.co/q5jCjsIBqQ— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) April 4, 2017
Martellus Bennett is arguably the most talented tight end currently playing in the NFL. He’s a former Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion who helped the New England Patriots to their big win last season. So when the Packers made the unprecedented move of signing the free agent to a $21 million contract this offseason, excitement rang through Green Bay.
On the field, Bennett could be just what Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense needs to take their game to the next level. He’s big, he’s physical and he’s exactly what Coach McCarthy ordered. However, more than his athletic abilities, he has talents that stretch far beyond the football field.
Bennett is most proud to be a dad, a husband, a self-described “visionary architect” and the Creative Director of The Imagination Agency, a multimedia production company full of “a wondrous group of monsters and imaginary friends tasked with creating, drawing, writing and imaginating fantastical adventures for kids all over the world.”
He’s an incredibly gifted athlete but also an artist and creator at heart.
“Some guys on their day off they like to go play golf. I prefer to go to an art museum,” he said in an interview with The Players Tribune.
As an artist, Bennett wanted to put his talents to good use by showing his daughter Austyn Jett that she is capable of doing whatever she sets her mind to in life. Drawing inspiration from her, Bennett created the children’s book series and interactive app, “Hey A.J!” based on her many stories and adventures.
“You can be anything you want. The world is your playground,” he said in a Forbes feature and that’s a vision he’s made sure his daughter understands.
Likewise, as Bennett began reading books to his daughter at a young age, he recognized the need for more diversity among children’s book characters and is using “Hey A.J!” to fill the void.
“With my daughter growing up I wanted her to have a character that was black and that went on adventures,” Bennett added, “Most of the books that have characters that are black are focused on them being black.”
“Hey A.J!” goes beyond that.
In addition to the book series, Bennett is also working on a line of toys, some short films, and even music.
Late last month, Bennett dropped an EP which was endorsed by former teammate Julian Edelman and titled “I’m Not a Rapper But Some of My Friends Are.” The mixtape features several of Bennett’s friends who are well...rappers...even though he’s not.
“I am on a mission to express my creativity in as many ways as possible in 2017, this is a part of my creative journey,” Bennett explained.
With all of the work that Bennett puts in off the field, it’s no wonder that his artistic accomplishments have landed him on the coveted 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. At 29 years old, Bennett is being recognized by Forbes for the ‘creative projects he supports with his football salary.’
But Bennett’s contributions to children don’t stop there. After signing with the Packers several weeks ago, he offered to donate the money he earns from his Packer jersey sales to after school programs.
So. Many. Feels.
I'll take all the money from my @packers jersey sales and put it towards the after school programs that I'm working to put together.— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) March 25, 2017
For a team that thrives on selecting players that are positive contributors to and active members of their communities, it seems Bennett is going to be a perfect fit for Green Bay. Martellus Bennett is an iconic and aspirational leader both on and off the field. He’s a visionary who thrives on being a #FatherFirst and football player second.
Is Martellus Bennett a downgrade from Jared Cook? My educated guess says definitely not. But either way, the positive influence he brings to Green Bay should make all Packer fans proud to see him in green and gold come football season. #TeamBennett