JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- With a torn rotator cuff, Michael Bennett couldn't get the long-term deal he wanted last off-season. So he signed a one-year, $4.8 million contract with the Seahawks.
The defensive lineman has earned every penny and will make plenty more in the off-season when he again becomes a free agent.
"I don't think about the money, because it's not in my account," Bennett said Monday of the notion that he's played himself into a huge contract.
The former Texas A&M standout finally has broken out of his younger brother's shadow. While Martellus Bennett was a free agent two years in a row, getting a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Giants before agreeing to a four-year, $20 million deal with the Bears this past off-season.
Michael Bennett had 31 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in the regular season.
"Michael's been an exceptional player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's had a great season for us. My only regret is that we didn't use him enough early. He has tremendous versatility, plays inside and outside. He's got a great motor and great savvy about him. He doesn't do everything in an orthodox manner, but he's very oriented. He has a great feel for the game and makes great decisions in the game, so we give him a bit of latitude in that regard so he can make the plays he's capable of making."
Bennett insists he wants to stay in Seattle, and the Seahawks likely don't want to let him go. He has nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in two playoff games.
"You do want long-term deals, but I don't think about it as much as some people think I think about it," Bennett said. "I think about winning the game. I'm taking it one game at a time, taking care of this moment and playing for this team."
Broncos kicker Matt Prater practiced Monday after sitting out last week with the flu.
"We put him in a little bubble," Broncos coach John Fox said. "No, no, we really didn't. He feels much better. Our docs take good care of him.
"They've got plenty of fluids in him. He's got the right meds. Again, it's a virus. Everybody gets it. He'll be fine come next Sunday."
Prater made 30 of 32 field goals this season, including an NFL record 64-yarder.
CARROLL GETS IT RIGHT
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn't take long to get himself in trouble with the locals. During his first press conference Sunday, the former Jets coach said how glad he was to be back in "New York."
A local politician, Rich Boggiano, corrected Carroll, reminding the coach he was in New Jersey.
"You're right. That's my bad," Carroll said Sunday. "I'm talking to a bunch of people on the West Coast who don't care about that, but you're right. It's great to be here, and we're going to be playing in New Jersey as well.
"Even when you're at the Jets, we were the New York Jets but we were playing in New Jersey, so I understand. I appreciate that. I'm sorry I didn't straighten that out for you."
So Carroll opened his Monday press conference with a greeting that drew laughter: "First, I'd like to say it's really great to be here in New Jersey."
Carroll, 62, was fired after one season with the Jets, going 6-10 in 1994. He proved himself with two national championships at USC and now has the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
"Unfortunately, it didn't last very long, but it still was a great experience, and I remember it well," Carroll said of his time with the Jets.
"I'm really proud to come back here and coach in a game like this, this status, in places we once lived and worked. It's a special honor to do that."
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