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Martellus Bennett has brought the fun to Patriots, Super Bowl week

Martellus Bennett dances with the Patriots cheerleaders after the Pats beat the StGetty Images

On March 16, 2016, the same day the news broke that the Patriots had acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears, Bennett posted a picture to his colorful Instagram account (@martellusb).

It was an older picture of him shaking Tom Brady's hand with a caption that read, "Hi Tom, I'm Marty. Let's do this."

Now Brady and Bennett are one win away from winning Super Bowl LI, Brady's fifth and Bennett's first.

You could say it's just how Bennett, who also calls himself the "Creative Director of Awesomeness at The Imagination Agency," drew it up in his mind.

And it's certainly how Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office drew it up in the playbook.

The tight end position is one that Belichick is very fond of, and he's been tying to find the right second tight end to pair with Rob Gronkowski ever since Aaron Hernandez ...well, you know.

Not only did the addition of Bennett add a complete tight end and second offensive weapon out of the tight end position, but it provided much needed depth at the position in case Gronkowski got hurt.

Well, Gronkowski began the season injured and played just five games before he was once again out of commission for the rest of the season.

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In past years, that would have spelled doom for the Patriots. Not this year.

Bennett has been able to help soften the blow of missing Gronkowski with his pass-catching (55 receptions, 701 yards, 7 touchdowns in the regular season) and blocking ability.

But it's not just what he's been able to bring on the field, but also off the field. Never short on words - or jokes - Bennett has been able to keep the mood light when the situation calls.

"He brings a lot of energy," Devin McCourty told reporters this week. "I think every year we always have guys like that. I think for a long time [Jerod] Mayo was kind of the energy guy. I've never seen Mayo have a bad day. Marty coming in, he's been very similar to that. Always excited and a very unique personality. Guys really enjoy having him in the locker room. I think he's enjoyed being here. It's been a pretty good fit."

But it's certainly not all fun and games for Bennett. While teammates will mention his personality in one breath, they'll note how hard he works in the next.

You could say that Bennett was unhappy with his situation in Chicago. It's also easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when stuck on a losing team. But if being traded to the Patriots was a new lease on football life, Bennett has made the most of it.

"I just know that here — you have these goals all the time, individually. But here it was never really individual goals that I set," Bennett told reports after stamping his ticket to Super Bowl LI. “From the moment I met my teammates, it was all about us and what can we do to get where we’re trying to go. Everyone here believes. There wasn’t a non-believer in this room at any time about going to the Super Bowl or what our goal was from the moment I got here in March or April. That rubs off on you.

"Iron sharpens iron and attitude is contagious. A winning attitude is contagious. I definitely got affected since I’ve been here. I’ve got the winning disease right now and I’m enjoying this one. I don’t need the antidote.”

Bennett has been relatively quiet through two playoff games, but tight ends were productive against the Falcons in the regular season. The Falcons allowed 84 receptions for 975 yards and eight touchdowns to tight ends, according to ESPN. The eight touchdowns were tied for sixth most in the NFL, and yards ninth most.

Whether he’s on the receiving end of Brady’s throws, or helping to block on the line, Bennett will be a big part of Sunday’s big game. And if all goes according to plan, he’ll be able to post another picture on his Instagram account after the game with this caption: “Hey Tom, I’m Marty. We did it.”

 

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