After 11 years in the NFL, including one season with the Philadelphia Eagles, defensive end Michael Bennett has announced his retirement from football.
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Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I’m looking forward to the rebirth - the opportunity to reimagine my purpose. ⠀ I would like to thank my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much for me to succeed. I’m looking forward to supporting them the same way they have me these past 11 years. I have never been more at peace in my life. ⠀ As the great Toni Morrison said: “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.“
Retirement was something that the former Eagle was strongly considering even before the global pandemic hit, but sheltering in place solidified his decision, according to a feature on Bennett’s decision by The New Yorker.
“The pandemic, by requiring him to focus on the essential aspects of life, was clarifying, Bennett told me late last week: he wanted to be at home with his family. And Bennett, who has long been one of the most prominent and vocal anti-racists in the N.F.L., also felt that it was the right moment to focus on helping other athletes speak out against injustice.”
In his one season with the Eagles, Bennett amassed 34 total tackles and 9.0 sacks. He was someone that would have continued to be a big contributor to the defensive line, but was looking for a new (and more appropriate) contract for his production. Instead, the Eagles traded him to the Patriots, and he spent the first half of the 2019 season in New England before being traded to Dallas for the remainder of the year. Despite the myriad of changes, including a very reduced role with the Patriots, Bennett still had 6.5 sacks total for the year.
Bennett will definitely not be bored in retirement. He already started a podcast, “Mouthpeace,” with his wife, Pele, and is developing a scripted TV series based off of his book, “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable”. Not to mention, he’s the father to three daughters, and he and Pele also run a foundation.