Warning: Michael Bennett Has Arrived
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eli Manning, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith ... you've been warned.
Michael Bennett showed off the swagger that made him a Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro-Bowl selection in Seattle when the Eagles defensive lineman offered a friendly hello to the NFC East's quarterbacks.
"I know Eli Manning is probably watching this and thinking ... yes, I'm coming. I know Dak [Prescott] is watching this like, 'Yeah, he's coming.' Yeah, I am," Bennett explained at his introductory news conference at the NovaCare Complex on Monday. "And Alex Smith, he knows he can't run from me. I told him at the Pro Bowl."
The 32-year-old Bennett has been a Pro Bowl regular in recent seasons and now joins arguably the best defensive front in football after being acquired from the Seahawks, along with a seventh-round draft choice, for a fifth-round pick and receiver Marcus Johnson.
Bennett is another difference maker up front for Jim Schwartz, likely penciled in at right end in place of Vinny Curry, who was released in a salary-cap move over the weekend before quickly ending up in Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia's first team defensive line figures to be Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Bennett with Chris Long, Derek Barnett, and newcomer Haloti Ngata as the main reserves in Schwartz's rotational system.
Bennett played a lot of snaps last season due to some issues in Seattle but before that he was well-schooled in a similar rotation that Pete Carroll designed to keep his linemen fresh for the guts of a game.
"I think in Seattle, it's a little bit more responsibility because we played a little bit different defense," Bennett surmised. "Still played with great defensive linemen; Cliff Avril, one of the best players to ever play the game, I had so many great players around me who were some of the best players to ever play -- and so here, this defense is just another opportunity to line up on tight ends. And honestly, I don't think there's a tight end in the NFL that can block me."
Bennett found out about his new home while traveling abroad in Japan but the move was hardly surprising to him as he understood the Seahawks were at a different stage, trying to rebuild with youth after a lengthy run as one of the NFC's top teams.
"Everyone has a shelf life," Bennett surmised.
He doesn't believe his expiration date had anything to so with his social activism, however, calling his relationship with Carroll far more than player and coach.
"It's human being and human being," Bennett explained. "I have a lot of respect for Pete Carroll."
That shelf life that was so productive in the Pacific Northwest before ending now starts anew across the country after a fresh coat of paint.
And Bennett is excited to get started.
"It's definitely going to be a great season," he said. "It's going to be fun to be out here and be able to chase quarterbacks."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen