martellus bennett-green bay packers

In a surprising, seemingly out-of-nowhere move Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers released tight end Martellus Bennett, claiming he failed to disclose a medical condition. Bennett had started seven of the team’s eight games this season, catching 24 passes for 233 yards.

Bennett will now be available on waivers for the other 31 NFL teams, who have until Thursday afternoon to place a claim. If the veteran tight end is healthy, there should be a substantial market for him. If he isn’t, he may have played his last NFL game.

Shortly before the Packers announced Bennett’s release, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters the tight end would not play Sunday due to a shoulder injury that also kept him out of Green Bay’s game against Detroit on Monday.

By releasing Bennett with the “failure to disclose a medical condition” designation, the Packers give themselves a chance to save a little cash. Per ESPN, the team is positioned to file a grievance to reclaim the prorated $4.2 million remaining on his $8 million signing bonus.

Though we don’t yet know exactly what happened between Bennett and the Packers, it seems likely that his injury is somewhat serious. At 4-4, Green Bay is in the middle of a playoff race, and if the team thought Bennett could help secure a postseason spot, it probably would not have let him go for a few million dollars in savings. The Packers’ other two tight ends, Richard Rodgers and Lance Kendricks, have a total of 12 catches this season.

If Bennett’s injury is indeed substantial, it’s more than possible he could call it quits on a 10-year career. The 30-year-old said last month he was “pretty sure” he would retire after this season, explaining that decision with only the word, “life” (He has previously said of football, I ain’t dying for this shit). If he stands to miss considerable time, he could simply decide to hang up his cleats a couple months early.

And if Bennett is done playing, the NFL will lose a solid tight end and an A+ character.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.