GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The strange story of tight end Martellus Bennett's departure from the Green Bay Packers is devolving into an ugly game of he said, she said.
Bennett's saga took another twist Friday morning when he took the field for his new employer, the New England Patriots, who claimed Bennett on waivers 24 hours after the Packers released him for failure to disclose a medical condition. Photos of Bennett wearing a No. 88 jersey and going through warmups made the rounds on social media as folks in Green Bay scratched their heads over a confusing divorce.
"I'm not going to get into the Patriots claiming Marty," coach Mike McCarthy said at his Friday news conference.
Bennett later took to Instagram to claim that the Packers were aware of his worsening shoulder injury but tried to get him to keep playing.
"This was all about money," said Bennett in the post, referring to the Packers' decision to release him with a failure to disclose injury designation.
From the Packers' point of view, the events of Bennett's departure unfolded as follows: Bennett took part in a non-padded practice last Tuesday and afterward expressed concern over a shoulder injury. McCarthy said he encouraged Bennett to seek additional opinions, which Bennett did as he missed the final three practices of the week and did not play against the Detroit Lions on Monday night. Two days later, the Packers released him for failing to disclose a shoulder injury. The Patriots claimed Bennett on waivers a day later.
Bennett's injury is a torn rotator cuff, according to a league source, but details about when the injury occurred remain fuzzy. The fact that Bennett practiced for the Patriots indicates he passed his physical in New England.
"The last medical conversation I was involved with in regards to Marty, they were talking about scheduling surgery," McCarthy said. "After that, then you have the termination and then the claim. I really don't have any comments on that. I've answered the question for the last time respectfully."
What felt like the end of a soap opera acted as a trigger for Bennett, who on Friday afternoon posted an expletive-filled diatribe sharing his side of the situation.
Here is the text of Bennett's message: