Martellus Bennett on OMF: ‘Spiritual pilgrimage’ to Japan helped make retirement decision

Ryan Hannable
February 01, 2019 - 7:46 am

Martellus Bennett is one of the more interesting players to come through New England in quite some time.

The tight end was part of the Super Bowl LI winning team when they beat the Falcons, but then signed as a free agent with Green Bay in the offseason. Things didn’t go so well there, and Bennett actually ended up back in New England after being released by the Packers in November of 2017.

Bennett only played in one game with New England before being placed on injured reserve.

Appearing on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Thursday from Radio Row, Bennett shared a story of taking a “spiritual pilgrimage” to Japan last March, and that helped with his retirement decision.

“That was the extra pushing factor into me retiring,” he said. “There were just so many people out there that loved everything they did. For me, I always wanted more out of life. I never really wanted to be a football player and I never really fit in to the locker room as a football guy. I fit in on the field. I love competing, I love that, but football wasn’t my calling.

“… I realized in Japan, even talking to my guide, she was like, ‘I just love waking up every morning showing everyone Japan.’ I was like, ‘How often do you do this a week?’ She was like, ‘I try and do it seven days a week because I want everyone to see Japan for what it is.’ … Everyone I met they loved every single part of it and I realized that I didn’t love every part of football, and what I love every single part of is creativity. 

“I was like, ‘I just want to create for the rest of my life.’ And I have never been happier. That is why I retired. It wasn’t because I couldn’t play physically, or anything like that. I just wanted to be happy with every part of what I was doing and I wanted to have a big purpose and passion in it.”

Before Bennett officially retired on March 27, he said Bill Belichick called him to see what his plans were for this season, likely with the intention of bringing him back.

Bennett also noted how he was very friendly with Belichick during the 2016 season.

“Me and Bill, we have a good relationship because there’s this open-door policy and no one walks in, though,” he said. “His door is always open, but no one is ever in there. I used to be in there all the time, like ‘Hey Bill, I have a question. I want to talk to you about something.’ He’s a really resourceful guy to talk about different issues.”

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