Martellus Bennett is the newly-signed tight end for the Chicago Bears. Michael Bennett is taking his talents from Tampa to the Seattle Seahawks. Put them together and you have a very entertaining afternoon.
When did you start thinking about the NFL?
Martellus: Actually, I was only going to play one year of basketball and then enter into the NBA Draft. I went to Texas A&M because Mike went there and they all talked me into playing football.
Mike: Once Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates came into the league, I think there were more basketball players that started playing football. After them, there was a whole bunch of guys making the switch.
Martellus, you have a lot of interests off the field.
Martellus: I do a lot of art, film, creative writing, and drawing. I’m super-artistic. I have two collections of books I’m working on. One is called Space Dude: Books That Make No Sense in a Place of Make Believe. I like astronauts and dinosaurs. Astronauts represent things that we haven’t seen and haven’t done, and dinosaurs represent our past, where we came from.
What about music?
Martellus: I play five different instruments. Me and my little brother, we did an album called Fast Food, which is on iTunes now. It’s by Marty and Shaud. We want to do a new EP this summer. We do a lot of music together. All three of our brothers are making moves business wise. We’re starting to think about future.
What are you working on off the field, Mike?
Mike: I’m looking into various franchise opportunities. We’re starting to think about longevity outside of football. Marty loves his art. I like to travel. But we still have to earn the money and take care of our families.
What would you do if you weren’t an athlete?
Mike: I would study sociology. I like to study different cultures. I probably would write books about different cultures, go from country to country, live in a bunch of different places and study people and enjoy life. I travel every chance I get. In the offseason, I like to go to Hawaii with my wife and kids and just surf and fish and be one with nature.
Did you grow up in a rural area?
Mike: We’re from the country, but grew up in the city. We knew the city life, but we stayed in touch with the country life—hard work on the farm, planting vegetables and doing stuff like that. Both our grandparents had farms.
Martellus: We had to cut okra. When we were younger, we would have contests to see who could pick up the cow. I’m a great fisherman, I’m really good with a rifle too. My teammates talk about hunting with knives, I don’t really like to go after animals like that. I didn’t know no better when I was younger. If I’m not going eat it, I’m not going kill it. I only eat things that swim, fly or run.
Mike: That’s everything, bro!
Martellus: I know!
What will you do when your football career ends?
Mike: I’d still like to travel the world. That’s my main plan, to see everything I can see before I die.
Martellus: My wife and I enjoy traveling with Mike and his family, but I’m a homebody. I hardly ever leave the house. In my next house, I’m going to build a crazy art studio so I can stay there. I like to keep to myself.
If you weren’t an athlete would you be an artist?
Martellus: Probably, maybe a film director. I love movies, I love to write scripts. Mike’s all about history and the facts. I’m more about imagination. I’m always preaching using your imagination. I just finished a children’s book. I like to read my stories to Mike’s kids. It’s like why should I read other people’s books, when I can read my own to them
Did you do the illustration as well?
Martellus: I didn’t. I don’t want to illustrate my own stories. I want the kids to get two different perspectives when they read the book, so the illustration is through one mind and the words are through another vision
When it comes to social media, you are polar opposites. Martellus, you live a public life on it, posting photos active. Mike, you live off the grid.
Martellus: I wouldn’t say I live my life publicly. Mike’s got two kids. I don’t have kids. My wife is in school. I’m by myself a lot. I entertain people.
Why don’t you use social media, Mike?
Mike: My perspective is that there are so many people out there waiting for you to do something wrong, you put the wrong thing out there and once you press send, it’s sent and it can be used against you for a long time. He and I take a photo and our friend who is a woman is sitting next to us, and then it’s like “He’s cheating on his wife!” Even if it’s your friend, you make yourself vulnerable.
You seem to enjoy it Martellus, although sometimes you seem to have existential angst over it.
Martellus: Sometimes, I just like to be an asshole. (laughs) I think I’m pretty intelligent. I don’t think athletes promote intelligence enough. We promote “ratchetness”—standing on cars, pants sagging, poppin’ bottles. I want to promote intelligence. I’m not the smartest man in the world, but I know a little bit about a lot, so I’ll have all kinds of conversation with people. You choose what you want to put out. A lot of guys make up images, but it’s not who they really are. Me, what you see is what you get.
Well, many athletes on Twitter are going to a workout, working out or coming from a workout.
Martellus: That’s the thing! People get mad at me that I’m not working out. I’m like I worked out at 6 a.m.!
Mike: Once a year they should take a fan and let them take a look at what the life is really like. People will come visit our house, and my wife will say, “Michael is going to be out all day.” I start at 6 a.m. and I finish at 6 p.m. It’s not just Sundays.
Martellus: And even with practice. It’s not just practice. You have meetings, you have to study, look at tape. When you come home, you don’t continue to teach if you’re a teacher. You’re not doctoring at the house.
Mike: Sports can’t control your life completely, you’ll burn out. You start hating it. Once you hate it, you don’t care anymore.
That creativity that you are honing off the field. It has to come out on the field in some way, no?
Martellus: The Giants offensive playbook is one of the hardest in the league to learn. But life is all about perspective. No matter what you’re going through in life, you can change that experience and make it a positive one by changing your perspective. For me, it’s all about perspective and imagination.
Mike: Football is such a small thing. We make it so big. There are so many things going on in the world. If you’re a smart person. You take something and make it simple to yourself. As complex as football is, you line up against somebody and you outwill them.
Mike: If you’ve got a lot to lose, you’re going to play like that. People try to make it complex, but it’s really simple.
What about life after football for you, Martellus?
Martellus: I want to have my own Pixar, have a group of cool people putting ideas together and putting cool stuff out in the world.
What’s the one thing we should know about Mike that we don’t?
Martellus: He’s funny as shit.
Mike: I have a dry humor.
Martellus: He’s like Larry David. They can do a Curb Your Enthusiasm, follow Mike around all day.
And what’s the one thing we should know about Martellus that we don’t?
Mike: He’s always been really smart. All through high school and college he got straight A’s.
Martellus: I’m smarter than people think.
Do people not think you’re smart?
Martellus: They do, but they don’t want to admit I’m smarter than they are!