The biggest trade in the NFL off season saw the Seattle Seahawks send Pro Bowl center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. The trade was also notable for the fact Graham was now a member of a team that only one year prior called him out for being “soft” and “overrated”. Well, it was actually only one guy who said those things: defensive end Michael Bennett.
“Nobody likes Jimmy Graham. I think he’s one of the softest players in the NFL,” Bennett said. “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.”
Those comments came after the Seahawks-Saints divisional round playoff game in 2014, the second time in the span of a month that the Seahawks’ defense had shut down Graham. Now that Graham and Bennett are teammates, you’d think Bennett would lighten up on his assessment. Appearing on Justin and Gee on ESPN 710 in Seattle on Thursday, Bennett brought up the subject.
“I still feel the same way,” Bennett said. “Just because he’s on my team I don’t stop feeling that way. 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. But obviously when he comes to our team he’s a part of our team so we have a different philosophy than they had with the Saints so the things he was expected to do with the Saints are going to be different when he comes here. Obviously we are a running team so he is going to have to block and do all those things. I don’t feel as harsh as I did at the time because he’s my teammate now but at the time he was on time opposite team and were pretty good and we battled with him a couple of times and I didn’t really like that too much.”
So much for that. Bennett also addressed the rumor that he asked Seahawks management for a trade. Turns out that was, in fact, a bunch of nonsense.
Asked about the rumors of wanting out of Seattle, the never-afraid-to-say-what’s-on-his-mind Bennett said “man, like I said, they made rumors about Jesus, they’ll make rumors about anybody.”
Later, asked specifically about the trade part of the rumor, Bennett said: “I never asked for it. I didn’t come to them asking for a trade. I’m still trying to figure out how a guy from Dallas (the report came from Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Clarence Hill) make up a story about me, I’m living in Seattle, I’m like how does that happen? I’m in Hawaii surfing, got the kids surfing in the ocean and they are talking about something else.”
Asked if everything is good between himself and the Seahawks, Bennett said: “Everything is good. I mean, we’ve been talking. I don’t know what the problem is there. Still trying to figure out what happened.”
Bennett added that “for me, I wouldn’t read it because whatever they say about me is a lie.”
TL;DR Jimmy Graham is still soft, but may not be overrated, Michael Bennett never asked for a trade, and everything’s cool.