Tight end Martellus Bennett found an escape hatch out of Green Bay and slipped back into New England with the Patriots, but that move may not have happened if the Chiefs had put a waiver claim in on Bennett.
And the Chiefs definitely considered it, head coach Andy Reid said.
“We looked at that as a potential,” Reid said.
Bennett sign a three-year, $21 million contract with the Packers in the offseason. But the relationship between the 30-year-old tight end and the club deteriorated throughout the season. The Packers waived Bennett last week with a failure to disclose an injury designation. Bennett reportedly told teams he planned to have shoulder surgery and retire, dissuading anyone from claiming him on waivers.
Until New England claim him, that is. Bennett jumped at the chance to rejoin the Patriots, and caught three passes for 38 yards Sunday night against Denver.
Reid said he was unaware of reports regarding Bennett asking teams not to claim him.
“No, I never heard that,” Reid said.
The Chiefs could see Bennett and the Packers down the road in the AFC playoffs, but Reid’s teammates have historically bottled up Bennett. Bennett spent five seasons in the NFC East with Dallas and the New York Giants. In 11 career games against Reid’s teams, Bennett has just 22 catches for 152 yards and no touchdowns.
GETTING KAREEM HUNT BACK ON TRACK
The Chiefs had a number of items on their bye-week to-do list, but among the key tasks remains getting the running game with rookie Kareem Hunt back on track.
“We need to do that, we need to get that better along with some other things,” Reid said. “We’ve got a couple of other things we’ve got to do better too. It all works as a part of the whole. We can do a better job there all around.”
Hunt and the Chiefs’ run game started the season on fire, averaging 156.2 yards rushing per game during the team’s 5-0 start. But during the last four games, the team averaged a paltry 67.3 yards per game.
The Chiefs still stand 6-3 on the season with a two-game lead in the AFC West, which puts the team within reach of pursuing its postseason goals, Reid said.
“But we have room to improve and get better,” Reid said. “And you got to do that day-by-day is what you have to do. That’s what we’re going to focus on. I talked to the team a little bit about that. Just let’s get right back into things we know and grind and get better on a day-to-day basis and let everything take care of itself from there.”
REID QUIET ON INJURIES
The Chiefs carried a number of key injuries into the bye week but Reid offered few details about improvements during his Monday press conference.
“I had the guys run around just a little bit today to loosen up, nothing too formal, but just to get themselves back in the swing of things,” Reid said.
Reid did indicate that defensive lineman Allen Bailey, who sustained a sprained knee during the team’s Week 9 loss to Dallas, continued improving but offered little details.
“He’s making progress,” Reid said. “I don’t really have anything to report to you on injuries. The guys have been getting treatment doing their things but I can’t tell you yea or nay either way, but he is getting better.”
Other notable injuries include linebacker Dee Ford’s ailing back and wide receiver Albert Wilson’s hamstring strain, which kept both players out against the Cowboys.
REID THINKING OF NED YOST
Reid said he sent his thoughts out to Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, who recently returned home following emergency surgery for a shattered pelvis.
“I had a chance to reach out to him and talk to him,” Reid said. “I’m just glad he’s on the mend here.”
Yost fell 20 feet from a deer blind on Nov. 3, fracturing his pelvis and causing severe bleeding that threatened his life. He also fractured four ribs. Yost managed to reach his wife on his cell phone, She sent Yost’s to find him, and a helicopter quickly arrived to evacuate him to the hospital.
That quick communication saved his life, Yost told reporters in a conference call on Monday. He said Reid was among those to text him and wish him a quick recovery.
“That was quite a deal,” Reid said. “He’s lucky for cell phones and modern technology, man, I tell ya.”