IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 27: Tight end Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a pass reception against D.D. Lewis of the Seattle Seahawks at Texas Stadium on November 27, 2008 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
In an age where athletes are trained against anything but hackneyed cliches (just take it one day at a time, God willing, it'll work out, etc.) the truly interesting interview has become a rarity within the context of professional sports.
Boredom and banality are preferred over anything that could be construed as the least bit incendiary, which has--in effect--drawn a thick line between the two categories of athletes: the interesting, and potentially controversial (Terrell Owens, Manny Ramirez, Ron Artest); and the safe and boring (Michael Young, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods), who will never really say anything in an interview and by doing so, assure that they remain a benign, profitable role model.
Technology has added another facet to this division, though it hasn't really changed anything. The interesting remain interesting, and the boring remain boring because, regardless of any sense of connection that the internet has offered, the athlete still controls (almost) completely the version of himself that is projected to whoever has a modem or a library card.
Martellus Bennett falls into the category of interesting, which is probably why he has run into trouble twice in his short time in the NFL, once for a profane rap video and again for his now infamous "Black Olympics." But he remains (a) an increasingly effective pass catcher, (b) a deft comedian and (c) a generally benign individual. And we should count ourselves lucky when a figure as hilarious and, at the same time, harmless as Martellus Bennett emerges.
Bennett's interview following yesterday's afternoon practice was a prime example. The second-year Texas A&M product offered sage wisdom on a wide array of topics, including:
The absence of HBO's Hard Knocks cameras: "They won't make me out to be an a-hole this year, so I think that's pretty cool."
Culinary pursuits: "I got a new recipe for Cap'n Crunch and chicken, all in one mix, I call it the 'Marty B mix'--it's actually delicious."
Extraterrestrial training: "Jupiter--I just like to go jogging on the rings... When you work out in an atmosphere like that, you train with the best. You got me, the Predator, you got Goku off of Dragon Ball Z... Next year, I might work out with T.O. though, 'cause it's kind of expensive to go to Jupiter.
Former teammate Terrell Owens: "Being from Alabama's like being from another planet. He went to Chattanooga, I thought that was some sort of waterfall somewhere. I don't know where T.O.'s from... His name to me is 'Very Black'."
His foray into comedy, as opposed to that of Chris Cooley: "Nobody can give me a run for my money. They work hard to be funny, I'm naturally funny. You got people that gotta write down jokes. I don't do that, it just comes to me, it's just a gift from the Lord above. I'm going to watch it tonight, see what I think. Maybe I'll rag on Cooley."
Bennett, for you more serious-minded football fans, insists that his comedy remains confined to off the field. This is probably true; he has been praised heavily by Jason Witten and the coaching staff for his work ethic this offseason, which seems to fly in the face of criticism this time last year over his mindset.
Asked what he wanted to show this preseason, Bennett said, "The same thing I've been showing all offseason, continue to grow as a player, mature off the field and on the field."
"Football's what I love to do," Bennet continued. "I just have fun when I'm doing it."