Michael Bennett gets ejected during another heated Seahawks practice
Thu., Aug. 4, 2016
Among the lessons football players have to learn in training camp – or be reminded of again – is how to properly harness their emotions to play with an edge yet still not cross a line into actions that could hurt the team on game day.
Thursday, Michael Bennett appeared to overstep those boundaries – at least in the eyes of coach Pete Carroll – and was essentially ejected from practice about two-thirds of the way through.
Bennett has been at the center of what have become almost daily skirmishes between the offensive and defensive line and was again Thursday.
During a team drill, Bennett became enraged at the offensive line (through the haze of bodies it was a little hard to tell exactly what started things, but it appeared Justin Britt and Mark Glowinski were among those Bennett was jawing at – the play came a snap after Bennett had jumped offsides).
After the initial pushing and shoving, when other players had returned to their positions, Bennett continued to finger point and yell and circled around the line, being held back by teammates including Cliff Avril and Jordan Hill.
Bennett eventually settled down.
But when the No. 1 defense took the field again a few minutes later, Bennett appeared set to take his usual place on the line before Carroll nudged him and motioned for him to go to the sidelines. Bennett did not see action for the rest of practice.
Bennett appeared to still be angry after practice, pointing and yelling at Britt when Britt crossed his path on the way to the offensive line huddle, taking a few steps toward the offensive line group and doing a little more fingering pointing and yelling before being led into the locker room by Avril, Richard Sherman and defensive line coach Dwaine Board.
Carroll said afterward that he sees the dust-ups that have marked practice the last few days “as passion. They want to play this game. They are excited about what’s coming up. They want to get ready and be really at their best.”
But Carroll made clear that’s where it needs to stop.
“It’s translating into sometimes we lose a little bit of the poise that we need,” he said. “We can’t play like that. So we have to, you get into a skirmish, you get thrown out. That’s what happened today. That’s just the way you do it. That’s the way we do it.
“We need to take it to the heights that we can really get the most out of it. So I love the way our guys are working. We need to work really well at that as we learn.“
Safety Earl Thomas agreed with Carroll that the day might have marked a crossing of the line from which the team needs to learn.
“I think we to harness it the right way,” Thomas said. “Besides today – it kind of got out of hand today. The energy felt a little weird. But the intensity has been great.”
Reining in that emotion is more critical than ever this season with the NFL instituting a new rule in which a player can be ejected after being penalized a second time in one game for an unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul.
Bennett, who has always played with a notable edge, reported to camp despite still seeking a new contract, with it known that his agent is still negotiating with the team.
Bennett had a similar pushing and shoving incident with Germain Ifedi during a 1-on-1 pass rush drill on Monday when the team put on shoulder pads for the first time. Tuesday, when the team was in full pads for the first time Bennett also again was at the center of some postsnap jousting. Then came Thursday, with Carroll undoubtedly hoping that his decision to sit Bennett out the rest of practice will get a point across.
Ifedi talked to reporters afterward and said that Bennett has been a great help on and off the field but said he is trying to show some toughness of his own, saying that a player can’t be a nice guy on the field or he won’t be on the field long.
If not for the Bennett incident, the most notable aspect of practice would have been the first significant spate of injuries that has hit the team.
Brandon Cottom, who has been running as the No. 1 fullback, suffered what Carroll said appears to be an Achilles injury. Carroll called such injuries, which are often season-ending, “devastating.”
Carroll said the injury happened in a noncontact drill when Cottom simply cut and planted.
Backup tight end Ronnie Shields also suffered what Carroll said was an Achilles injury.
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