BOURBONNAIS – A day after losing his cool and body slamming rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller to the ground after a play in team drills, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been suspended indefinitely and fined for conduct detrimental to the team, general manager Phil Emery said Tuesday.
Bennett's availability for Friday’s exhibition opener against the Philadelphia Eagles is uncertain.
The amount of the fine, Emery said, would remain in house. The length of the suspension?“An undetermined length of time,” Emery said.
Bennett’s act obviously has worn thin with the Bears’ leaders. And Monday’s tantrum in which he took exception first to a clean and legal strip attempt by Fuller and soon after to words from receiver Brandon Marshall pushed things to a boiling point.
Head coach Marc Trestman made the decision to halt practice after Bennett’s tantrum. And Emery ultimately decided it was best for the team to send the emotional tight end away for awhile.
“This is a process that we’re working with Martelllus on,” Emery said. “We are in contact with him. Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He’s a loved and respected teammate and we want him back. But it’s a process that we’ll have to work with.”
That’s a sugar-coated explanation of Emery’s decision. The read-between-the-lines version speaks loud and clear that the Bears are not going to tolerate volatile and divisive behavior during a season in which they have such high expectations.
Emery wouldn’t say specifically what about Monday’s incident or Bennett’s comments afterward bothered him most. But he said the team’s decision was reached collectively.
“He was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team,” Emery said. “That’s where we’re at with that. And there won’t be any further information on that. Everything else will be kept within the team.”
Emery said he already has addressed the team on Bennett’s status. And he didn’t have any specifics on when Bennett would be asked back.
“Again,” Emery said, “that’s a process we’ll work through with Martellus. And he’s an active part of that process. So we look forward to getting him back as soon as possible.”
Bennett will remain on the Bears’ active 90-man roster but will be out of all team activities for the immediate future.