FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Martellus Bennett is, he says, just chilling.

He uses that phrase a lot. Like last week during the New England Patriots’ bye week.

“It’s the bye week right now so I’m just chilling,” he said. “I just save my energy, build up as it goes on. There’s no reason to have a lot of highs and lows this week … overall I’m just chilling.”

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound tight end likes to hold court at his locker and riff on whatever comes into his head. Sometimes he talks football. Sometimes, like on Wednesday, he’s pretty much unfiltered.

“Nothing I’m saying really applies to football at this moment,” he said, about halfway through his interview session.

No, it didn’t, especially the part about how important it is to compliment his wife, Siggi, all the time, and especially if you win an award.

“You’ve got to thank your wife first,” he said. “Then Gatorade or something like that for keeping you hydrated, then you have to thank God and then you have to say God bless America.”

But that’s not entirely unlike any of his interviews, when Bennett goes off on an unexpected tangent.

Like the time earlier this season when he talked about digging for gold and then somehow seamlessly segued into a speech about how much he liked bacon. American bacon.

“No one likes Canadian bacon,” he said. “It’s like a different form of ham. I prefer crispy bacon. American bacon. Good, good American bacon. The grease. The kind that crunches when you chew it. You don’t even chew it, you just bite it. Crunchy bacon. Bacon’s delicious. I haven’t met too many who don’t (like bacon). My wife don’t even like pork, and she eats bacon. Bacon doesn’t even count. It’s like in its own food category. Bacon is bacon. There’s everything else and then bacon’s over here. I like bacon.”

He sure does.

Bennett, of course, has been more than just a talking point for the Patriots this year. Acquired from the Chicago Bears in a trade on March 17 for a fourth-round pick, he has stepped in to provide a much-needed target for Tom Brady after all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season following back surgery.

Bennett, always known as a crushing blocker – and he has certainly lived up to that reputation – was third for the Patriots this season with 55 catches, second with 701 receiving yards (a nifty 12.7 average) and first in touchdown catches with seven.

But it is his personality – so different from any others in the all-business, no-nonsense domain of the Patriots – that may be his biggest asset.

“The triple Cs are who I am: cool, calm and collected,” Bennett said Wednesday. “So I just kind of roll with it. Football is such a roller coaster that I just try to streamline my emotions. When I first got here a lot of people thought I was weird because no matter what was going on in the game, I had the same facial expression the whole time.

“I know sometimes Tom (Brady) would be yelling and I just look at Tom like (take it easy). And he’s just like, ‘What is going on with this guy?’ I’m just even-keeled throughout the whole game.”

He’s usually smiling when you see him. He always says, “Hello.” And you never know what to expect from him.

Asked about Bennett’s personality, linebacker Dont’a Hightower had to think for a moment.

“I don’t have a word to describe his personality but I can guarantee every person in that locker room loves Marty,” said Hightower. “The emotion and excitement he brings in there is much needed on a day-to-day basis because working here isn’t always the easiest thing. Having guys like that in the locker room to make you smile helps get you through the day.”

Alan Branch, like Bennett an NFL veteran – Branch is in his 10th year, Bennett in his ninth – clearly likes having him around.

“He tries to stay positive all the time,” said Branch. “You rarely see him negative. He’s a good ball player. He has great hands, great speed and he’s a funny guy. He’s a pretty good guy to hang out with.”

Bennett is an unrestricted free agent after this season. He made it clear last week that he loves playing here but added, “We’ll figure it out when we figure it out.”

For now his focus is on getting ready for Saturday. He was asked if games like this were why he came to New England.

Typically, his answer wasn’t typical.

“That’s not why I came here,” he said. “I came here to play football, to play good football. I feel like I’ve been doing that all season and I’m trying to continue to do that. That’s why I came here – to play good football. I’ve been able to play good football for a long time and now it’s just another game that I can show them again that I can contribute and play football.”

And, as always, chill.


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