Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently opened up in a candid interview to the Huffington Post about life before football, being overlooked and what fuels him every time he goes out onto the field.
Growing up, Bennett said he used to roughhouse with his cousins, which is where he got his tackling skills from. The toughness part came from his Grandpa.
"I harnessed my skills of being tough when I used to tackle with my cousins in the front yard all day, and I got my hard-core attitude about life from my Grandpa," he recalls, via the Huffington Post. "Staying focused, working hard and not getting deterred because that’s the way he was."
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Bennett lived with his dad mostly grown up as his mom struggled with having five kids at such an early age. "By the time my mom was twenty she had five kids," he shares. "It was difficult growing up like that."
Bennett said he got in trouble a lot with his stepmom, who did not have that same passion for football that he did.
"My stepmom had a master’s in education. Growing up, she didn’t care about football much. I was grounded a lot and she was the one always saying, ‘Do your homework.’ Now, looking back I realize that she was just preparing me for life," Bennett said, while smiling.
Bennett said he was often overlooked growing up because of his brother, Martellus Bennett (tight end for the Bears) would often steal the spotlight from Michael.
"Honestly, my brother, Martellus, was just about the best athlete in Texas. I was kind of overlooked because he was so good," he explained. "Not a lot of people thought I’d be in the situation I’m in now except for my dad. I think people always thought, ‘How can this guy be good? He’s not the fastest, tallest, strongest,’ but it’s not all about physical ability. What you can’t measure is someone’s heart; that’s what I have."
Bennett opened up about why he plays football and what goes through his mind every time he is out on the field.
"I don’t have any selfish ambition. I really don’t. I’m going out on that field for my family. My whole goal is to leave an empire behind for my kids so that they can do something far better than what I’ve done; they’ll have the chance to do everything I couldn’t do."
Bennett talks about coaches and their motives, the hardship of not getting drafted, and different religions he has experimented with through the years.
To read the interview in its entirety, click here.