New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett was the subject of severe backlash this weekend as questions continue to swirl around his reported shoulder injury.
Bennett, who played with the Patriots last season and was a part of their historic Super Bowl LI win, signed with the Green Bay Packers over the offseason. He started in seven games through the first nine weeks for Green Bay, but the team ultimately cut him on November 8, citing a failure to disclose a medical condition.
The tight end had previously revealed that he was considering retirement and surgery on his injured shoulder. However, those options seemed to be swept off the table when Bill Belichick and the Patriots came calling late last week.
Just two days after being waived by Green Bay, Bennett was back on the football field for practice alongside his old teammates in New England. After practice, he took to Instagram to blast the Packers' medical staff, saying team doctors knew of his injury and forced him to play through it, damaging his shoulder even further.
"My shoulder wasn't where it is now at the beginning of the season," Bennett claimed. "I f---ed it up playing for the Packers."
Several Packers players then took to social media to defend Green Bay's doctors.
A post shared by Aaron Rodgers (@aaronrodgers12) on
Bennett continued to raise eyebrows on Sunday when he suited up for the Patriots in Denver and collected three receptions from Tom Brady for 38 yards. Though it was a quieter performance than the Patriots' other star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, had, it still left many wondering how severe Bennett's reported shoulder injury actually is.
Fans and former players took to Twitter to criticize Bennett after Sunday's game, with many calling him a "fraud" and a "liar."
Twitter reacts to Martellus Bennett playing in Sunday's game
Twitter reacts to Martellus Bennett playing in Sunday's game
Click through to see how Twitter reacted to Martellus Bennett's role in the Patriots' win over the Broncos on Sunday.
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Bennett isn't even wearing a shoulder harness which is typical if you have a severe shoulder injury. 🤔
Just wondering. Did Martellus Bennett make it out of the game last night ok? I know he gutted out a severe shoulder… https://t.co/m1BncfnPS7
How Bennett is a liar and a fraud. https://t.co/qQs6FnTau7
If you ever thought a team/front office/coach gave a shit about a player’s character, see the Patriots letting the… https://t.co/yAIyJTVRmD
.@MartysaurusRex happy for you man. Surgery to Sunday Night Football in 24hrs. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍 https://t.co/CzRntutnIv
Martellus Bennett’s shoulder injury is related to a broken collar bone suffered by another player, a first in moder… https://t.co/iN3prJkjBq
Martellus Bennett pretending to be injured until the Patriots called him https://t.co/rkq8ReyS6o
I have a hard time being upset if Martellus Bennett duped a team and badmouthed their doctor. Both screw over playe… https://t.co/K2tx24GPib
The Packers and their fans have a reason to be upset at Martellus Bennett. But let's not forget, Bennett's shoulder… https://t.co/jjm5PKfAwC
Martellus Bennett is a POS. Tried to discredit packers doctors saying he was forced to play and needs surgery. 3 d… https://t.co/dOPtosLtQf
Not sure who looks worse in these Martellus Bennett nonsense. The serial cheaters known as the @Patriots or Green B… https://t.co/ylU6W4qgCV
Apparently Martellus Bennett has the fastest healing torn up shoulder, of all time. This is kinda weird 🤔
First it was @mosesbread72 and his incident in Vegas. Then the @MartysaurusRex shoulder incident. Just a pair of br… https://t.co/5IUztvAa2A
Personally, I'm not upset about the Martellus Bennett stuff. He was a disappointment in Green Bay and in my opinion… https://t.co/IEuMLTXvyN
this Martellus Bennett situation is pretty funny, the dude clearly just wanted to play for a contending team but to… https://t.co/hqjqCAq2IK
Hey @MartysaurusRex if your shoulder was so bad that you got waived and were “forced” to play with it, how come you… https://t.co/7HPVXCwjFX
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Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was one player to quickly come to his teammate's defense.
I don't know you and you don't know me, but don't be comin for my guy if you don't know him or the story. I'll pray for you tho... 🙏🏾 https://t.co/81ttxC1GDt
After Sunday night's game, Bennett opened up even further about his departure from Green Bay, saying he had a "vengeance" in his heart after being waived for an injury he insists he tried to get fixed.
Bennett also revealed that he told his agent to tell teams not to claim him. Even when Bill Belichick called, Bennett said he needed time to consider whether or not he still wanted to play -- then Tom Brady sent a text asking him to come back to New England, and the choice was made.
While Sunday night's evidence points to Bennett being healthy enough to play, he could still opt for surgery, or choose retirement at the end of the year. With seven games left on the Patriots' schedule and a probable postseason run, there's a lot that remains to be seen out of one of the most controversial storylines of an already wild NFL season.
Related: See Martellus Bennett throughout his career:
Martellus Bennett through his career
Martellus Bennett through his career
Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione and Martellus Bennett (right) celebrate the 12-7 Aggie win over the Longhorns in Austin, Texas, Friday, November 24, 2006. The Aggies defeated the Longhorns 12-7. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
IRVING, TX - 2008: Martellus Bennett of the Dallas Cowboys poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO, OCTOBER 8, 2005 -- Safety Ben Burney (42) wrapped up tight end Martellus Bennett (3) in the second half. The Colorado Buffaloes took on Texas A&M at Folsom Field Saturday night. It was homecoming. (DENVER POST PHOTO BY KARL GEHRING.) (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 26: Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Texas Stadium on October 26, 2008 in Irving, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Buccaneers 13-9. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 02: Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a catch against the New York Giants during their game on November 2, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 35-14. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 16: Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during warmups before the game against the Washington Redskins on November 16, 2008 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Jaime L. Mikle/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 21: Tight end Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during their pre-season NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 21, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys is carted off the field in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 23-17. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 12: NFL player Martellus Bennett arrives at the Los Angeles Derby prelude party at The London Hotel on January 12, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 05: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Martellus Bennett #85 of the New York Giants in action against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on September 5, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 24-17. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20: Martellus Bennett #85 of the New York Giants during play against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Giants won 36-7. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 25: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Martellus Bennett #85 and Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants run off the field at halftime against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on November 25, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Packers 38-10. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Martellus Bennett #85 of the New York Giants looks on against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on December 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Saints 52-27. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Martellus Bennett of the Chicago Bears stretches for a reception attempt in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, September 15, 2013. Bennett collided with a cameraman on the way down and was assisted off the field. The Bears defeated the Vikings, 31-30. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 06: Martellus Bennett #83 of the Chicago Bears readies to move to the field against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field on October 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Saints defeated the Bears 26-18. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 07: NFL Player Martellus Bennett and Siggi Bennett attend Michigan Avenue Magazine's October Cover Celebration hosted by Chicago Bears Matt Forte at Eddie V's Prime Seafood on October 7, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Michigan Avenue Magazine)
27 NOVEMBER 2014: Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) runs onto the field prior to the start of the game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions during a regular season game played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. This was the 75th game that the Detroit Lions have hosted on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 17: Martellus Bennett stands in front of his animated portrait during the Hey AJ Imagination Lounge Pop Up on June 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/Getty Images for Martellus Bennett- Imagination Agency Pop Up Book Launch)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (#88). The New England Patriots practiced at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 7, 2016. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots celebrates scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with Martellus Bennett #88 during the second quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 30, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - FEBRUARY 5: New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) poses for a selfie with his brother Michael Bennett who plays for the Seattle Seahawks while on the field for pre game warm ups. The Atlanta Falcons play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01: New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) answers questions from the media during the New England Patriots Press Conference on February 02, 2017, at the JW Marriott Galleria, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots celebrate during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Aaron Rodgers #12 and Martellus Bennett #80 of the Green Bay Packers look to the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Martellus Bennett and Michael Bennett speak onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images )
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 12: Tight end Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after a 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Martellus Bennett #80 of the Green Bay Packers raises his fist during the national anthem prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)