Martellus Bennett: Past and present Green Bay Packers players support team doctor vs. tight end

By Alex Butler  |  Nov. 11, 2017 at 1:30 PM
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Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Current and former Green Bay Packers players are supporting the team doctor after former tight end Martellus Bennett called him out for pushing him to play through injury.

Bennett posted several messages on his Instagram account on Friday, relaying that the Packers tried to "[expletive] me over."

The veteran tight end was waived on Wednesday and claimed by the New England Patriots. He left Green Bay with a failure to disclose a physical condition designation. Sources told ESPN and NFL Network that Bennett was playing with a torn rotator cuff.

Bennett said that the Packers examined his shoulder on March 10 and cleared it. He said they also gave him an x-ray, but the shoulder got worse during the season. He asked to have it checked out again. He said he chose to have surgery. Bennett specifically named Packers team doctor Pat McKenzie for "trying to cover his own [expletive]." The tight end said McKenzie tried to persuade him to play through a major injury. He also said the move was "all about money" for the Packers.

"I have a hard time believing they tried rushing him back with that injury," former Packers tight end Tom Crabtree tweeted. "In 2012 they were paying me far less than him, I was similarly ineffective on the field and they sat me in preseason game 4 with just a sprained shoulder."

Fullback John Kuhn, who played for the Packers for nine seasons, also stands behind McKenzie.

"In 9 years of working with Doc McKenzie he never pressured me to play one time," Kuhn tweeted. "In fact, I would argue that I pressured him to let me play at times."

Leroy Butler, who played for the Packers from 1990 through 2001, also talked about McKenzie. He said McKenzie was "very conservative."

"I was born with the narrow of my spinal cord, I played hundreds of plays and Dr. McKenzie flew me out to see a specialist...he was very conservative, because he cared about me as a person," Butler tweeted. "I am offended that someone would say he made them play injured although each player is different. I am just sharing my experience. It's BEARS WEEK AND THE GUYS NEED TO FOCUS ON WINNING!!!"

Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson said he has never felt pressured to play. Nelson missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn ACL during the preseason.

"In 10 years of being with the Packers organization and having multiple injuries and surgeries, I have never once felt pressured to play in a game," Nelson tweeted. "If anything, I have had to try and convince Dr. McKenzie and the athletic trainers to allow me to practice or play in a game. Dr. McKenzie is very cautious about putting players back on the field with an injury and always puts the player's health before the team."

The Packers face the Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. Sunday at Solider Field. Bennett is was limited in practice Friday and is questionable for the Patriots' Week 10 bout against the Denver Broncos.

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