Things happen during NFL training camps. It’s hot, people are scrambling for roster spots and emotions run can high. Fights are common.
But Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett may have gone too far on Monday when he got into a scuffle with rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller. General manager Phil Emery announced on Tuesday that Bennett was fined and suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
"Last night, we made a decision to fine and suspend Martellus Bennett for an undetermined length of time," Emery said. "This is a process that we’re working with Martellus. We are in contact with him.
"Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He’s a very loved and respected teammate. We want him back, but it’s a process and we have to work through."
It seems Bennett took exception to Fuller — the team’s first-round draft pick — trying to strip the ball and knocking him to the turf in the process. So Bennett responded by picking Fuller up and slamming him to the ground. Teammates quickly intervened and separated the two. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall had some words for Bennett, the latter of which was held back by Matt Forte and LaMarr Houston.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman decided to end practice at that point.
"I felt it was time to stop," Trestman told the Chicago Sun-Times. "There were a lot of people involved that care a lot about this team. I felt we got enough done today and it was time for the team to move forward, finish the walk-throughs and move on to our meetings this afternoon."
For what it’s worth, Fuller didn’t harbor any ill-will toward Bennett, despite saying he was only trying to make a play on the ball. Bennett ended up making things right and shook hands during walk-throughs.
"Just a football play," Fuller said. "Stuff like that happens. Family, you get in fights like that, but at the end of the day, you’re all good."
Bennett is willing to move on as well.
"Afterwards, I just told him, ‘Keep working, keep playing.’ If that’s the way you play, that’s the way you play," Bennett said. "But at the end of the day, this is what it’s about: he plays hard, I play hard and everybody should be trying to play the way we’re playing out there."
While the players seem to have moved on, the team apparently decided to send a message that they don’t want valuable rookies exposed to possible injury during practices.