Bennett always open, for passes and conversation

Bears tight end will be in Cutler's ear one way or the other

BOURBONNAIS — Somebody asked new Bears tight end Martellus Bennett if he had eaten at Ditka's restaurant yet.

"I'm not a big steak person (and) I don't eat pork,'' Bennett said. "I'm not a Muslim but I don't eat pork.''

Another questioner at training camp Friday at Olivet Nazarene University wondered where Bennett preferred lining up.

"I feel comfortable everywhere,'' he said with a sly smile. "I'm like a chameleon.''

Usually Bears fans worry about the tight end not getting involved enough. Rest assured Bennett will be in the middle of everything, and that isn't necessarily referring to plays designed to take advantage of his athletic 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame.

Meet the Bear who quarterback Jay Cutler most likely will want to shove.

"When we watch film, I sit right behind (Cutler) so I can whisper in his ear,'' Bennett said. "It sounds kind of creepy, but I can ask him, 'Is that what you wanted?' And he'll give me a thumbs-up. I know I probably get on his nerves.''

A teammate who gets on Cutler's nerves? Nah.

Though in all seriousness, Bennett possesses the ideal fun-loving personality to diffuse tension that often accompanies Cutler into the huddle. Four seasons with the Cowboys watching Tony Romo interact with Jason Witten taught Bennett the value of rapport. If Cutler buddy Brandon Marshall provided stability, Bennett can supply levity. Any Cutler-led offense needs both.

"I expect the ball every single play so if I come back I'll tell them I'm open,'' Bennett kidded. "I know Jay pretty well. I talk to him every single play, completion, incompletion. Communication is the biggest thing.''

When it comes to communicating, Bennett arrives with Pro Bowl-caliber skills. Whether the Bears locker room appreciates Bennett's flair as much as the press room remains something coach Marc Trestman must monitor. When Bennett says he's always open, he doesn't just mean on third down.

With the Cowboys, Bennett starred in a YouTube video praising Cap'N Crunch. With the Giants, he compared himself to Gandhi and Kim Kardashian. He likes to paint and has written a children's book. He loves dinosaurs enough to refer to himself as "Martysaurus Rex.''

The eclectic football entrepreneur who sounded as excited to visit Chicago's Art Institute as he is to play at Soldier Field enjoys mentioning his wife, Siggi. She is a makeup artist and, just guessing, a terrific listener.

"Me and my wife are two of the coolest people in the world,'' Bennett said. "It's like Jay Z and Beyonce, me and my wife, then David Beckham and Victoria.''

Bennett realizes he falls into a different tax bracket than those couples, even after signing a four-year, $20.4 million deal last March. Speaking of money, Bennett vowed that his newfound riches won't lead to poor motivation the way they often do for players who get paid.

"I don't really play for the money,'' Bennett said. "The money's good. I like driving nice cars, nice house. I like to dress nice mainly. But I'm out here to build a legacy. I want my kids to see a life fulfilled (and) getting paid gives you a couple more avenues to have an impact. It's a blessing.''

Bennett's mouth stopped. His mind raced, in search of the next soundbite. The words kept coming filter-free.

"A lot comes with that too,'' he said. "It's like the Spiderman quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.' Peter Parker.''

Funny, Bennett was told, the Bible attributes that quote to Luke. President John F. Kennedy famously uttered the same words too.

"Jesus said it too,'' Bennett said.

Turning the topic to more familiar ground, Bennett wondered why the Bears practiced on Bermuda grass at Olivet Nazarene instead of Kentucky bluegrass. The Chicago Park District will love this guy.

"I went to (Texas) A&M, I am an Aggie and I know my grasses,'' Bennett said.

He knows how to get his hands dirty too, as a Pro Football Focus study of Bennett's 491 snaps on running plays proved. Bennett received an outstanding grade of 2.66. Translated: Even though Marshall said he was "actually looking forward to passing some (receptions) along to Martellus,'' Bennett instantly improves the Bears running game as much as the passing.

"I'm old-school,'' Bennett said. "I block then get downfield. Not many guys do that. There are a lot of guys who are fantasy-football tight ends. I'm not a fantasy-football tight end.''

In reality, a franchise historically average at the position finally found one anything but.

"The last two really good ones were (Mike) Ditka and Greg Olsen,'' said Bennett, overlooking Desmond Clark's 242 career receptions as a Bear. "I'm different. I'm trying to make my own brand for tight end of the Chicago Bears.''

Indeed, Bennett is one of a kind.

dhaugh@tribune.com

Twitter @DavidHaugh

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