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Pope: Martellus Bennett's weight, hamstring an issue

UPDATED: Bennett has reportedly signed a one-year, $2.5

UPDATED: Bennett has reportedly signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Giants.
MARTELLUS BENNETT
Tight end, Cowboys

2011 stats: 17 receptions, 144 yards, 0 TDs
2011 contract: $771,250
Bennett, a second-round draft pick in 2008, has played behind Jason Witten the last four seasons. Witten, who has had three 1,000-yard seasons with Dallas, has shown no signs of letting up and Bennett is ready to be a starter elsewhere.
Credit: AP

Yesterday I blogged about how Hakeem Nicks will have to watch his figure (and avoid those Debbie Cakes he loves) while recovering from his foot injury. Martellus Bennet may have to heed the same advice. Or, maybe, it’s too late.

Tight ends coach Mike Pope said that the free agent tight end who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury for much of this offseason has weighed in at 291 pounds. Last year for the Cowboys he was listed at 270 pounds.

“I think that is probably a little too big for his legs to carry,” Pope said this week. “We run a lot more than he might have been accustomed to. Plus we are in the middle of a weight program and the combination of those two things has caused him, especially, to have some problems with his hamstrings. He can’t afford to miss time, either, because he needs every possible rep he can take.”

Pope has been without the two players he needs to be molding this summer. While Bennett has been sidelined with the hamstring, rookie Adrien Robinson has been finishing up school and unable to participate in workouts. Both are expected to be available for the veteran minicamp in two weeks.

“He is raw, as a lot of these young guys are, coming from not very much of a football background,” Pope said of Robinson. “Talent-wise I think that we are right on with him. So I’m kind of encouraged going forward. I wish he was here now, because this is valuable time that he is missing. And these are almost irreplaceable. Jake Ballard went through the same thing when he first arrived here because Ohio State is on this same graduation system. And so he was set back. So we do have some prior experience with how difficult it is even for very young guys to come forward and to catch up with missing all of these practices.”

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride noted that there are very few similarities in the way the Giants use their tight ends compared to how the Cowboys used Bennett, and that basically has them starting over with the fifth-year player. But Pope did say that Bennett seems to be catching on, even though he’s not on the field.

“Other than the hamstring injury, he is making progress,” Pope said of Bennett. “He catches on. He is not a rookie player. He understands the transference of language from his former team to this team is always going to be a little difficult. But he is beginning to make those adjustments.”
 

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