BOURBONNAIS — A relatively spat-free training camp saw an explosion on Monday that caused coach Marc Trestman to cut his practice short.
Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller threw tight end Martellus Bennett to the ground using the front of Bennett’s shoulder pads. Bennett, who had multiple after-whistle fights last camp with virtually the entire Bears secondary, came up furious, grabbed Fuller’s facemask and sent the rookie No. 1 pick flying.
“Just a football play,” said Fuller, who said later he was simply going for the ball. “Stuff like that happens. ... He’s a competitor. He’s got fight in him, so that’s a football player.”
Bennett had to be restrained and taken aside by a group consisting of offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, running back Matt Forte and even defensive end Lamarr Houston, himself a combatant at times this offseason.
Bennett had a succession of contretemps last training camp with a succession of defensive backs. Like this one, it came in the lead-up to the first preseason game.
“I come to training camp for one reason and that’s to win championships,” Bennett said. “I go hard every single day. I’m probably one of the most violent people on the field, that’s my style of play, and I’m going to continue to play the way I play.
“Everybody talks about ‘friendships.’ It’s really all about championships. If you make friends along the way, that’s cool. But I’m just trying to win championships.”
That may be the case, and Bennett indeed has not lost control in actual game situations, where penalties, fines or more could result. But the tension this time, even with the two principals exchanging handshakes later, was not what Trestman wants to see, practice or otherwise.
“We talk about that every day,” Trestman said. “We show video at night, what’s acceptable. Part of training of camp is still learning how to practice. We haven’t had pads on — it’s hard to believe we’ve only had pads on for, what, nine days now?
“That’s not a lot of time. We’ll continually get better at it. We’re going to have to do it during the season. I think that we’ve got great compliance here relative to safety. And we just keep talking about it until everybody gets it most of the time.”