GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Former Green Bay Packers TE Martellus Bennett says he has vengeance in his heart.
Bennett suited up and played with the New England Patriots Sunday after a turbulent week in which he was waived by the Packers for failure to disclose a medical condition--a torn rotator cuff.
“At first I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery,” Bennett said. “When Bill [Patriots' coach Belichick] called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘no f---ing way.’"
Bennett had three receptions for 38 yards in his first game back with the Patriots.
In a series of Instagram posts last week, Bennett accused the Packers of choosing money over his health. He claimed that he wanted to get surgery for a shoulder injury but the Packers team doctor urged him to play through it.
Bennett's injury appeared to flare up after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone. Some skeptics found the timing suspicious.
After Bennett's release from the Packers, he was picked up by the Patriots. He passed a physical and played Sunday without issue.
"It was just about the injury. It was just one of those things. I talked to six or seven doctors about it and it could go either way. It was one of those things I felt like I should get fixed," Bennett said in the Patriots locker room. "And then after trying to get it fixed and getting waived, you got that vengeance in your heart."
Packers players, current and former, defended team doctor Pat McKenzie following Bennett's social media posts that named the doctor.
"I've been working with Dr. McKenzie for 13 years, and as well as being a phenomenal doctor, he's also become a close friend," writes Aaron Rodgers on Instagram. "He's done surgery on me twice, and I trust him and his opinion implicitly."
The Packers had high hopes for Martellus Bennett, who signed a 3-year, $21 million contract with the team during the offseason.
Bennett had 24 receptions and 233 yards in the seven games he played for the Packers.
ESPN reporter and Cover 2 panelist Rob Demovsky reports that Bennett dropped 11.1 percent of his targets this season.
During Sunday's Cover 2 On the Clock, Demovsky said, “It’s going to end in a grievance and the Packers are going to go after that signing bonus money. Clearly Martellus Bennett said, 'I’ll play hurt for Tom Brady but I’m not playing hurt for Brett Hundley.'”
Former Packer Tom Crabtree has not shied away from calling Bennett a "liar" and a "fraud" on Twitter.
".@MartysaurusRex happy for you man. Surgery to Sunday Night Football in 24 hrs," Crabtree tweeted.