FRISCO, Texas — Defensive lineman Michael Bennett said his trade to the Dallas Cowboys did not include a conversation with owner and general manager Jerry Jones regarding standing for the national anthem before the acquisition became official.
Bennett has stood on the sideline for his first two games with the Cowboys after staying in the locker room during the anthem when he was with the New England Patriots.
“I feel like it’s not my job to tell to make somebody else believe what I’m already doing,” Bennett said. “Like if they don’t believe, it, what can I tell them?”
Bennett told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he is standing for the anthem because his teammates asked him to. In 2018 with the Philadelphia Eagles, Bennett also remained in the locker room but he has made exceptions in the past. In 2017, he stood on the sideline during Veterans Day weekend and the NFL’s Salute to Service in 2017 while he was with the Seattle Seahawks because his protest against racial inequality and injustice was not related to any disrespect to the military.
As for his on-field acclimation to the Cowboys, Bennett said, “It’s been pretty much a good journey, coming here from New England. A lot of great players and just trying to figure out how to get in there.”
Bennett had a sack in his first game against the New York Giants. He had two quarterback hurries in 45 snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. His transition from the Patriots has been made smoother because of his familiarity with the scheme, having played for Seattle while passing game coordinator Kris Richard was with the Seahawks.
“I just came from the place with the most defenses in the league, so any other defense is pretty much easier to learn,” Bennett said.
The Cowboys re-worked Bennett’s contract after the trade, lowering his base salary and transferring money into incentives, while also deleting the final year of his deal, which could allow him to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He turns 34 on Wednesday.
“I don’t know, it could be my last year in the NFL,” Bennett said. “I’ve been thinking about what’s the best thing for my family, what’s the best thing health-wise in the future, so I just take it one game at a time now, one year a time. If an opportunity is a great opportunity. … But right now it’s just enjoying this game, enjoying these seven games and playing football. Just enjoying myself, trying to be a kid out there again. I’m the old man right now but at the same time, I’m trying to stay as young as I can.”