‘My wife wouldn’t let me hold out,’ Bennett says

Kam and BennettWhile Kam Chancellor has stretched his surprising holdout into the second week of the season, Michael Bennett has been practicing, playing and leading by example.

But he said Thursday that he almost joined Chancellor in holding out. Both players are dissatisfied with deals that pay them $7 million per year. Bennett is being paid $6 million this season, and Chancellor was due $4.55 million but is forfeiting 1/17 of that every week he sits out (plus as much as $2 million in fines).

Bennett said his wife wouldn’t let him hold out.

“I’ve got three kids; I’ve got a wife. My wife wouldn’t let me hold out, so I had to come to work,” he said. “(Kam’s) situation’s different from mine. I respect what he’s doing; he respects what I’m doing. too. I just come back and try to work as hard as I can and show the team the type of leader I am and the type of person I am and what I’m willing to do and how far I’m willing to go playing in the games.”

Bennett said, “The decision was hard for me, until the last day that I decided, ‘Man, I’m just going to come back and do what I can do.’ At first it was hard to deal with, but I know that if I go out there thinking about something I’m not going to be able to protect myself. If I’m out there thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t fall down because they’re not going to do this for me.’ At the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and just play as hard as you can, because the one time you’re thinking about something else out there, you’ll be knocked out and you’ll have a concussion.

And, in typical Bennett fashion, he cracked, “Hopefully you can get some of Russell Wilson’s (recovery) water so you can feel better.”

He said the team misses Chancellor for his play and leadership, but he also thinks a win over the Packers would shut up people who think the Hawks can’t win without the Pro Bowl safety.

“Even though Kam Chancellor wasn’t in the game, we had multiple chances of winning that game (in St. Louis),” Bennett said of the 34-31 overtime loss. “I wonder: Would the conversation be the same if we had won the game? Would people be saying, ‘Hey, they don’t need Kam Chancellor’?

“It’s all about what happens — the wins and losses in this league. If we win Sunday, people won’t be talking about (Chancellor),” Bennett added. “At the end of the day, we all want Kam to come back. We all understand what his fight is, and we all want him to get his just due. He is one of the best safeties to play the game, the way that he does things.

“I think we miss him; we miss his love. He’s our brother, we fight for him, we feel for him, we understand his pain. It’s like when you have a brother that’s off in war, you want him to come back. That’s all we want: We want him to come back and understand that there’s no hard feelings to what he’s going through or what he’s dealing with.”

Bennett also took fans to task for criticizing Chancellor for holding out.

“I think you can’t have hard feelings, because … the NFL cuts people every day. Every day,” Bennett said. “There’s some guy right now (who) thinks he’s going to play on Sunday that gets cut on Friday, all because the organization feels like they need to save money. Teams do it all the time; but, when the team does it, it’s usually called business.

“When a player does it, it’s usually called ungrateful and the fans don’t understand it. They don’t understand: Why would a guy want more money in the NFL? Isn’t he making enough?

“You know, these guys put their bodies on the line every day and they deal with pain daily, so they want to be compensated fairly. As the market goes up, as any business owner … you usually want more money. He’s just being a businessman. I think the fans don’t see it from a business perspective; they see it from the perspective of him being a player, and a player shouldn’t think like an owner. At the end of the day, that’s the misunderstanding between the players and the fans.”

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