Martellus Bennett, signed Wednesday as a free agent by the New York Giants, held a conference call with Giants beat reporters Wednesday afternoon. The transcript is below.
Q: We understand it’s a one year deal. Is that correct?
A: Yes m ‘am.
Q: How do you feel about that?
A: I feel awesome.
Q: Why is one year a good idea?
A: I think it gives them a chance to see who I really am as a player and as a person. For me it’s a performance thing so they get to see who I am as a player and I get to come in and show them what I can do. I think it’s a great situation for me coming in here with the quarterbacks and the guys they have around and the way the put in the organization. I’m just happy to be part of the situation. I’m truly best to be here.
Q: Do you think we got to see who you are as a player the last few years?
A: No. I think at times you got a glimpse, but I was in a limited role. I only played like 30 per cent of the snaps while I was in Dallas. I think in a larger role I could do so much more. I think the sky’s the limit. I don’t think anyone has really seen who I am as a player and what I have to offer. So I think this is the best situation for me and my family and for me as an athlete because, I don’t want to say I have a lot to prove, but I long to-do list. So I have a lot of things I need to do as a football player. I think this is place where it gives me the opportunity to do everything that I want to do.
Q: Can you tell us about the courting from the Giants? Did you identify them right away and decide that you really like them?
A: Yeah, when I got here I met with coach Pope. Once we started talking we hit it off. It was kind of like love at first sight. Once we started talking I almost asked him to marry me. So I’m excited about this situation with the coaches and everybody in this organization has been great, just sitting down and conversing with everyone that I could. I pretty much have met everyone here. I think both sides are excited about the opportunity that we have.
Q: You said in a recent interview that you were a 60-plus catch guy. Have you always seen yourself that way and was it just a limited role in Dallas that prevented you from getting there?
A: Like I said, I had a great time in Dallas. I learned a lot as a player and the organization was great to me. I was in a situation where I may not have gotten to play as many snaps as I wanted and do some of the things that I wanted to do, as far as receiving and playing a whole lot, but I got to play with one of the greatest of all time, that’s going to go down in history as one of the greatest, Jason Witten. I may not have caught a lot of balls while I was there, but I learned a lot about football just watching him, how he did things, how to get open, how to play ball. In the long run it was a successful trip for me in Dallas. I just think that it’s time for me to move on and be my own guy.
Q: We’re you comfortable knowing that the tight end is not used as much in the passing game here?
A: I thought Jake Ballard, I thought him and Beckum did a great job. Ballard, before he got hurt for the first time, he was the leading receiver on the team. So I think he did a great job and I think I’m coming in with a group of guys that’s very talented. It’s not about me. We’re going to be a strong core when those guys get healthy. I’m looking forward to playing next to them. I was fortunate to play with a guy, Jake’s a young guy to me, being this is my fifth year in the league – to get in there and teach him some of the things that I learned from Witten and learn some of the things that he knows here in the offense already. I think we could be a really good tandem. I thought the tight ends here were doing a great job. I’m not trying to push anybody to the side. I just feel like I have something different to offer to the table than they do. And I think we’ll be a good combination.
Q: What’s that different thing that you feel you have to offer?
A: One is I’m a totally different type of blocker than he is. Being a blocking tight end in the NFL, it takes time to learn to do that and something that I’ll progress at. I’m a stretch the field type guy. I like to get vertical and things like that. I believe I can create a lot of mismatches all over the field.
Q: Do you feel like you could be at the level of Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham?
A: Yeah. No doubt.
Q: What makes you think that?
A: I just continue to work hard. You look at those guys, they get a lot of opportunities to make a lot of plays. I think I’m going to get a lot of those opportunities. I’m going to seize the moment. So right now I’m just living in the moment and I look forward to getting out there on the field and having more opportunities to really play. I always looked at myself as a good player, but I always want to be great. I think this is a place where I can be great.
Q: You said it was love at first sight with coach Pope. Why is that?
A: Coach Pope just seems like a guy you want to have a beer with. He’s lived 70 years of life. Anyone who’s been around that long, there’s a lot of knowledge there. There’s a lot of wisdom. Just from our conversations, just talking about football and life, we just clicked right away. I think he understood me more than I thought he would when I came in. It was just one of those things. Sometimes you just click with people and sometimes you don’t. I clicked with him.
Q: After four years of being a Cowboy is it weird to be a Giant?
A: It’s kind of weird. I’ve been playing against these guys for four years, but at the end of the day it’s business. People leave Dell all the time to go work for Mac. It’s a business at the end of the day and, like I said, I loved everything about the Cowboys organization and I had a good time there and I enjoyed every moment of it. But for me, it’s not really just going to a rival team. It’s about being in the better situation.
Q: Did you reach out to Chris Canty at all?
A: Yeah, I saw him earlier. I talked to him earlier – Justin Tuck. I saw most of those guys up here in the facility earlier. I’m pretty cool with most of the guys because we play against each other a lot. They all were telling me to sign the dotted line already and kept asking me if I did it yet. I’m glad they came up here. I look forward to meeting the rest of the team.
Q: Did they talk to you about your role? Do you expect to be an every down guy?
A: That’s what I want to be and that’s why I chose this place and I think I have a chance to do that. I think that’s what I’m built for. So yeah, I do see myself as an every down guy. I don’t feel like anything is given to me here and that was expressed in all of the meetings. They expect me to come in here and work hard and earn every opportunity that I get. And that’s something that I want to do. I don’t want anything given to me. I just want to show them that, ‘Hey, this is what you got.’ And earn what I deserve and get what I deserve to get.
Q: Do you see yourself being here a long time with the Giants?
A: Yeah, I think so. I’m already pretty comfortable. I’m already looking for places to live. I might be out here in a couple of weeks already. I’m ready to get started. I’m going to try to give Eli a call as soon as possible and see where he’s at and try to get with him as soon as I can and just get to work.