When Tom Brady returned to the New England Patriots in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns, many assumed the biggest beneficiary would be Rob Gronkowski. Through two games (Gronk missed Weeks 1 and 2 due to injury), Gronkowski had just one reception, while his fellow tight end, newcomer Martellus Bennett, racked up 15. There was supposed to be a role reversal when Brady returned to helm the Patriots offense, since he and Gronk know each other about as well as their head coach Bill Belichick knows sleeveless hoodies. Instead, Bennett had the best game of his brief Patriots career.
Bennett hauled in three touchdown passes from Brady on the way to a 33-13 Patriots win. He appeared to be one of Brady’s primary targets in the red zone. Bennett’s big day almost didn’t happen though. He rolled his right ankle when he tried to block for running back LaGarette Blount on the Patriots’ second possession of the day. Bennett limped to the sideline, where his ankle was re-taped, and then somehow returned to play the rest of the game.
So why did Bennett choose to fight through what looked like an incredibly painful ankle injury? Because of Luke Cage. Duh.
The idea of “looking weak” has kept many NFL players from reporting more serious injuries, like concussions, to their training staff, but that’s a separate issue. Bennett’s dedication to his team shines through in that quote, and it’s refreshing to hear a pro athlete say that letting down the fans was a thought that immediately popped into his mind. Also, Luke Cage is about as good a reference as you’re ever going to get in a post-game interview.