HOUSTON — Martellus Bennett is finally home. And while he’s in his hometown for the week, he’s determined to leave his indelible mark wherever he goes.
The Patriots tight end spent Tuesday morning talking to young adults at his alma mater, Alief Taylor High School, which is less than 20 miles from NRG Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LI. Bennett, 29, also stopped for a haircut in Alief on Tuesday.
Those who know him best say he hasn’t changed much. He’s always been a free spirit, unafraid to be himself and unwilling to conform to the ideals of others. Bennett remains that person, even in Bill Belichick’s world.
While his high-profile quarterback, Tom Brady, has evaded discussing politics and his support of President Donald Trump, Bennett made his stance on Trump known Monday night. He told reporters that he “most likely” would skip a trip to the White House if the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, adding: “I don’t support the guy that’s in the [White] House.”
While the stick-to-sports crowd wishes professional athletes would avoid publicly discussing politics and social issues, Bennett proudly shares his opinions and interests out of football. And the football player-turned-children’s book author is determined to use his platform to motivate and encourage the next generation of scholars, artists, writers and politicians. Especially here in his hometown.
“The biggest thing is to inspire my community, being from Houston, that you don’t have to dribble a ball and catch a ball to get out of the situation,” Bennett said this week. “You can draw, you can color, you can create books. You don’t have to rap. You could score films. There’s so many different things. So just to be the guy that they can look up to and be an example . . . We have a lot of examples of guys who are like Michael Irvin. We get a lot of people that can play ball coming from where we come from. Dribble a ball; the next Michael Jordan. We hear it all the time. But I want them to look at it and be like, ‘Oh, that’s the next Obama,’ or ‘That’s the next Tim Burton.’ ‘That’s the next Walt Disney.’ You know what I’m saying? ‘That’s the next Shel Silverstein.’ ‘That’s the next Dr. Seuss.’”