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Texas A&M Football

He knocked out Colt McCoy, but does he love A&M? Michael Bennett sets the record straight

December 13, 2019
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Michael Bennett hasn’t returned to College Station in a long time, and he cites his high school, Alief Taylor, rather than Texas A&M during his introduction on Sunday Night Football.

It has prompted some Aggies to question Bennett’s feelings for his alma mater.

Just because the Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman doesn’t wear the A&M logo on his sleeve doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it tattooed on his heart.

“I don’t know why people think I don’t like A&M,” Bennett said. “I love A&M. I just haven’t had a chance to go back as much as I would like to, and the coaches have changed a lot, so I’m not familiar with the people there anymore. But hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to go back and do some more stuff since I am back home and closer to the end of my career.”

The New England Patriots traded Bennett to the Cowboys on Oct. 24, the fifth team he has played for in 11 NFL seasons. He has outlasted his younger brother, Martellus, who was more highly recruited and a higher NFL draft pick.

Bennett is taking his career a year at a time, acknowledging he could retire after this season. No one expected him to last this long or be this good.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Bennett has been a force in the NFL, earning three Pro Bowl trips and accumulating nearly 70 sacks along the way.

The three-time Pro Bowler’s 69.5 sacks tie him for 96th in NFL history in career sacks. He has a Super Bowl ring and more than $59 million in career earnings.

“I don’t think anybody really expected me to do much,” Bennett said. “I think they probably thought I’d be [in the league] a couple of years. Now, I feel like I’m one of the last defensive linemen in my class. Maybe three or four of us are left. It’s kind of crazy that I’m one of the last ones. But I always believed I could compete. I just needed somebody to believe in me, and all along the way, I’ve had a lot of good coaches. I’ve been so lucky and blessed.”

Bennett had no stars and few offers out of high school as he stood only 6 foot 2 and weighed only 220 pounds as a senior. He drew some interest from schools looking to get an “in” with his brother, who a year later would become the No. 1 recruit in the state.

Bennett committed to Louisiana Tech and spent the summer of 2004 in Ruston before a clerical error during the NCAA clearinghouse kept him from enrolling. He returned to Alief, grew 2 inches, gained 20 pounds and drew interest from Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, California Berkeley and A&M.

“[A&M] was close to home,” Bennett said. “I thought I wanted to go far away at first, but then the more I thought about, I said, ‘My parents would never make it to these games.’ Texas A&M was a great school, and it was close to my house.”

Martellus, a tight end, followed his brother to A&M a year later, becoming one of the highest-rated players ever to sign with the Aggies. The brothers, who are 16 months apart in age, were roommates for three years.

“I had a chance to go to a place where I became a man, and I got a chance to do it with my brother,” Bennett said. “We became men together. We experienced a lot of stuff in life together. Our first experience without each other was when he went to the Cowboys [as a second-round draft pick]. That was one of the best experiences, being there with my brother. Also, playing in front of that fan base at Texas A&M. The closest thing it’s been to that in the NFL is Seattle.”

Bennett joked he’s “obligated” to say A&M is the home of the “real” 12th Man.

“All the time, everywhere I go, you see Aggies all throughout the country,” said Bennett, who spends most of his offseasons in Hawaii, Seattle and Los Angeles. “I feel College Station is a place where people go, and they love it so much, because it’s like a family atmosphere. Their grandpas, their cousins, their uncles, everybody, so you see people all the time who talk about A&M.”

Bennett forever has a place in Aggies’ lore for knocking out Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in 2006. A&M led 12-7 over No. 11 UT with 20 seconds left when Bennett made a vicious hit on McCoy, who left on a cart.

The Longhorns still think the hit was illegal, but officials didn’t penalize Bennett.

“He’s still mad about that,” Bennett said of McCoy, chuckling. “You’ve got to let those things go, Colt. You have to let those things go. You have to be able to grow from the past.”

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Bennett still visits Colt McCoy occasionally to remind him to let go of and grow from the past.

Bennett ranks that victory over the Longhorns as his best memory of his college career.

His final two years at A&M were far less memorable.

Bennett didn’t play in the Alamo Bowl to end the 2007 season when he was declared academically ineligible. Still, he surprised everyone when he chose to return to A&M rather than joining his brother in declaring for the 2008 NFL Draft. 

But Bennett and new coach Mike Sherman didn’t always see eye to eye. Bennett posted career lows in tackles (19), sacks (0) and tackles for loss (3), the reason he went undrafted in 2009.

“I was hurt [at not getting drafted],” Bennett said. “But I think my whole life has been overcoming adversity. Adversity is what creates character, and I think, for me, that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I feel like if I was drafted, I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I’ve lasted.”

Bennett has played for a lot of teams, seeing action for the Buccaneers, Seahawks, Eagles, Patriots and Cowboys.

He is a lot of things: intelligent, thoughtful, funny and soft-spoken. He also is opinionated, competitive, serious and outspoken. 

Bennett published a book in 2018 titled Things That Make White People Uncomfortable and said he is in discussion with the NFL about teaching a class on racism at an Ivy League school.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Though a respected NFL veteran among teammates and others in the league, controversy has often been close at hand for the sometimes outspoken Bennett.

Bennett, like his now-retired brother, is more than a football player. 

“I do think he’s one of the misunderstood players in the NFL,” Bennett’s father, Michael Bennett Sr., said. “A lot of people look at the fact that he was taking a knee and then the thing in Las Vegas and then how he feels about police brutality. But Michael’s a great guy. He does a lot of great things for the community. Whether it’s in Seattle or Hawaii, he gives back. A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to be an African-American in America.

“Michael was raised on the military base — I served 10 years in the Navy — so the people he grew up with were military brats.”

For 2 ½ years, Bennett sat on the bench or stayed in the locker room for the national anthem in protest of social inequality and police brutality. He started standing again once he got to the Cowboys six games ago.

The Cowboys have never had a player protest during the national anthem by decree of owner Jerry Jones. Bennett is standing for the first time since 2016, and he said it’s at his teammates’ request.

As the only player on the roster with a Super Bowl ring, Bennett quickly has become a team leader in Dallas. His voice was the one heard coming from the locker room after the Cowboys’ loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving Day. The gist of his fiery message was “only champions are remembered.”

“He’s jumped right in, trying to understand how we coach and how we want him to do things,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s embraced that fully. I think he’s made a really positive impact on our team. He’s a very well respected guy.”

Traded three times in less than three years, Bennett is back home. 

The Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator, Kris Richard, stood on the table for Bennett. Bennett played for the Seahawks when Richard was in Seattle. 

The trade from New England came a week after the Patriots suspended Bennett a week for a “philosophical disagreement” with his position coach, former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. 

Richard has never had a problem with Bennett.

“I believe he’s got a bad rap,” Richard said. “When you have an intelligent football player that has information and knowledge, you have to be able to accept it, receive it and utilize it. Those are the guys out there playing the game, and when they have information and they’re willing to share it, I value it.

“I haven’t ever seen a negative or bad intent behind him. So it’s like, ‘All right, yeah, consider the source.’ You have to know who he is. You have to know what he’s about. Then again, value the information that he gives.”

Bennett has a decision to make once the season is over as he becomes a free agent in March. He has many other things outside football he wants to accomplish.

Bennett never earned his degree but has that on his bucket list of things to do in retirement. He also plans on watching more Aggie games. 

“I watch games,” Bennett said as Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott passed by in the locker room. “I saw A&M beat Mississippi State.”

Prescott didn’t miss a beat, saying over his shoulder, “Everybody beat State this year.”

The Bennetts still have strong feelings for A&M. Michael Bennett Sr. attends a couple of games a year at Kyle Field.

“We all [root for the Aggies]. Michael, Martellus, myself, my wife, we always will be supportive of A&M,” Michael Bennett Sr. said. “A&M is the school we fell in love with way back in the day, and we still feel that way.”


Charean Williams earned a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 as the first woman to win the Dick McCann Award, given annually by the Pro Football Writers of America for a long and distinguished career. She has had many other firsts since her initial season covering the NFL in 1994. Williams graduated from A&M in 1986.

Discussion from...

He knocked out Colt McCoy, but does he love A&M? Michael Bennett sets the record straight

13,077 Views | 46 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by spherical
brockdgag86
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Great article Charean!
Brockdgag86
KS80537
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So, about citing his high school instead of A&M, it's because... ?
aggieland09
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AustinAg84
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AG
Good article. Great player. Loved watching him play games at A&M.
johnnyblaze36
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AG
Quote:

Bennett published a book in 2018 titled Things That Make White People Uncomfortable and said he is in discussion with the NFL about teaching a class on racism at an Ivy League school.
Give me a freaking break. Is this guy ever going to apologize to the entire Vegas PD that he lied about and slandered?
p8aggie
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Matsui
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DrHeadShrink
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AG
Awesome. I can't wait until he introduces himself as being from Texas A&M on Sunday night football. I'm sure he'll have plenty of chances during interviews to throw a gig 'em and verbally represent. By the way I had Dr Taylor for history in high school - they named Alief Taylor for him - RIP - so I like him saying Alief Taylor and I'm sure he could say Alief Taylor and Texas A&M.
AggieBlu
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AG
Great write up! Love Bennett. Gig'Em!
Somewhere, the toddler president is sitting on the toilet lying in a tweet! LOL
LatinAggie1997
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AG
Announce your University and give us a gig 'em!
Sooper Jeenyus
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Doesn't understand why people question his love for TAMU? Maybe because he compared his time to slavery?
valvemonkey91
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AG
Yeah, count me in the camp of Aggies that DGAF about MB and his racist ass. I'd rather A&M just disassociate from that dude. He is not a good rep for our university.
ontheway
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AG
He can be
ontheway
CorpsAg11
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AG
My guess....
He is close to retirement and has has burned through much of the all money he has made. Realizing he has no skills other than ramming into things, he's hoping the Aggie Network will pick him up... Pass.
General Omar
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Nice that he tires to endear himself to Ags, but he is still a first class race baiting jerk
General Omar '79
northeastag
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AG
Oh puke.
spherical
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AG
wow. A whole lot of bitter in the comments section.
Buck Nasty
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AG
Have you seen the video? He dindu nuffin wrong.
TexasLeaguer
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AG
spherical said:

wow. A whole lot of bitter in the comments section.


A whole lot of dumb in this post
30wedge
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He is a punk. I am happy he cites his high school rather than A&M.
spherical
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AG
TexasLeaguer said:

spherical said:

wow. A whole lot of bitter in the comments section.


A whole lot of dumb in this post


people just have to be pissed about something huh?
Franklin Delano Bluth
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AG
spherical said:

TexasLeaguer said:

spherical said:

wow. A whole lot of bitter in the comments section.


A whole lot of dumb in this post


people just have to be pissed about something huh?


Or they just call a race baiting piece of **** as they see it...
Shife
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AG
I see texags has gone full clickbait-type headlines.

May I suggest:

"Michael Bennett can trigger message board dorks with this one weird trick - middle-aged white dudes hate him!"
johnnyblaze36
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AG
Shife said:

I see texags has gone full clickbait-type headlines.

May I suggest:

"Michael Bennett can trigger message board dorks with this one weird trick - middle-aged white dudes hate him!"
Weird flex but okay. The guy accused the Las Vegas PD of racism. It turned out the officers he accused were actual "people of color" and then over 100 hours of video tape proved he is a liar.

He's not been held accountable by anybody when he should be criminally charged and instead is about to be rewarded with teaching a class at Harvard or Princeton or Yale on racism? Total bizarro world.

He kneels for the National Anthem as if he was ever oppressed and is living in the 1860s or even the 1960s. He has no proof that he was the victim of racism while at A&M. The guy is the epitome of everything that is wrong with society today and this fluff piece is disgusting.

No "message board dork" here but definitely recognize trash when I see it. He might as well just introduce himself as Juicy Smolier from now on.





double aught
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AG
Quote:

He kneels for the National Anthem as if he was ever oppressed and is living in the 1860s or even the 1960s.
Whether you agree with them or not, NFL players are kneeling because of current day issues.
Aggiebrewer
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AG
I respect his right to protest. But I have a right to call him ignorant & selfish. He is both. Maybe he will grow up and see how wrong he is one day.

spherical
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AG
Franklin Delano Bluth said:

spherical said:

TexasLeaguer said:

spherical said:

wow. A whole lot of bitter in the comments section.


A whole lot of dumb in this post


people just have to be pissed about something huh?


Or they just call a race baiting piece of **** as they see it...



I guess they've got that kinda time
Wrangler
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AG
POS
Aggie
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AG
Not reading that article

I couldn't give 2 chits what school he mentions on his intro.

Michael Bennett is a racist POS, a thug and a liar

Lateralus Ag
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Aggiebrewer said:

I respect his right to protest. But I have a right to call him ignorant & selfish. He is both. Maybe he will grow up and see how wrong he is one day.




I see Brewer has jokes today. Hahahahahaha.
PooDoo
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AG
johnnyblaze36 said:

Quote:

Bennett published a book in 2018 titled Things That Make White People Uncomfortable and said he is in discussion with the NFL about teaching a class on racism at an Ivy League school.
Give me a freaking break. Is this guy ever going to apologize to the entire Vegas PD that he lied about and slandered?
Maybe when they find the body cam that disproves his side of the story.

They had the whole incident on camera except for the part where he is taken down... In Las Vegas? They have cameras watching cameras there.



They had their guns out inside the casino. You think that's not a gun in the cops hand? Hell, even the cop on the sidewalk had his gun drawn on Bennett when his buddy was cuffing him with his knee on his back. Y'all really don't see that?

TMZ Video
Ags4DaWin
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an article is nice but when words don't mesh with a person's actions its smart to believe the actions.
WC94
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AG
Breaking news! Cops have guns.
johnnyblaze36
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AG
double aught said:

Quote:

He kneels for the National Anthem as if he was ever oppressed and is living in the 1860s or even the 1960s.
Whether you agree with them or not, NFL players are kneeling because of current day issues.
What current day issues? I would honestly love for you to start a thread on F16 for a rational discussion so I can hear more.
Lateralus Ag
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AG
johnnyblaze36 said:

double aught said:

Quote:

He kneels for the National Anthem as if he was ever oppressed and is living in the 1860s or even the 1960s.
Whether you agree with them or not, NFL players are kneeling because of current day issues.
What current day issues? I would honestly love for you to start a thread on F16 for a rational discussion so I can hear more.


There are no rational discussions on forum 16.
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