By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, who spent part of the 2019 season with the New England Patriots, announced his retirement Tuesday morning via Instagram.
Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I'm looking forward to the rebirth - the opportunity to reimagine my purpose. ⠀ I would like to thank my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much for me to succeed. I'm looking forward to supporting them the same way they have me these past 11 years. I have never been more at peace in my life. ⠀ As the great Toni Morrison said: "Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
"Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I’m looking forward to the rebirth - the opportunity to reimagine my purpose," Bennett wrote in the post.
An undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, Bennett caught on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three seasons before moving on to the Seattle Seahawks, where he became one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. He posted at least seven sacks in four of his five seasons with the Seahawks, and was named to three Pro Bowls.
He was a part of Seattle's legendary "Legion Of Boom" defense which went to two Super Bowls, winning one. In their Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots, Bennett jumped offsides as the Patriots were attempting to kneel following Malcolm Butler's interception, setting off an infamous fight and giving the Patriots breathing room from their own end zone.
Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia before the 2018 season, and had nine sacks for the Eagles. The next spring, he was traded to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick.
He never seemed to get his footing in New England, playing mostly in a reserve role before being suspended for 'conduct detrimental to the team' in October. He was traded to the Cowboys a few days later, where he finished the season with four sacks in nine games.
Stepping away from the game at the age of 34, Bennett finishes with 69.5 sacks in 156 games. He also forced 10 fumbles and recovered three.
Bennett's younger brother Martellus also played for the Patriots, in 2016 and 2017. He announced his retirement in 2018.