GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and teammates are coming to the defense of the Green Bay Packers team doctor after former Packer Martellus Bennett had some choice words for his former team and their medical staff, accusing them of choosing money over his health.
The tight end, waived by the Packers on Wednesday for failing to disclose an injury, told his side of the story on Instagram. Reports say Bennett had a torn rotator cuff.
Bennett was claimed off waivers by his old team, the New England Patriots. He practiced with the Patriots on Friday. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says Bennett is currently listed as questionable.
Bennett claims the Packers were trying to force him to "play thru a major injury." He called out Dr. Pat McKenzie by name.
Here is a transcript of what Bennett wrote on his Instagram story Friday:
The Packers examined my shoulder March 10 and cleared it. They even gave me an xray as well. It got worse during the season, specifically against the cowboys so I asked to have it checked and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now here we are ...
They tried to f--k over me. Dr. McKenzie trying to cover his own a--. After trying to persuade me to play thru a major injury and me choosing to get surgery.
They have access to all my medical records. My shoulder wasn't where it is now at the beginning of the season. I f----d it up playing for the @packers.
Dr. McKenizie didn't make feel safe and was pushing to play which I thought was weird. Not that he was trying to get me to play thru it but the way he was saying things. I didn't trust him. So I got 3 other opinions from doctors who all said I need to get it fixed. So I decided to do that. And they decided to waive me with some b------t excuse. Failure disclose.
Every week we do a body evaluation sheet in the weight and pretty much every week I circled my shoulder. I just kept playing but it got worse.
During the bye week I got off anti inflammatories to clean my system and could really feel the pain. So I asked to examine it first day back in. And that's when we found out it was really f----d up.
They panicked. Thinking that I was trying to go on IR and be on their books next year. When I mentioned that I would possibly retire. So they tried to f--k me before they thought I would f--k them. This was all about money.
All about money. I get it. But don't lie homie. You knew wtf was up.
I had intentions of playing all 8 games as I mentioned in the post during the bye week, but found out it was worse than I felt after getting it checked out.
Now I'm like f--k it.
I chose my health over the 'team'. They chose money over me."
Bennett's story quickly became the talk of sports Twitter. Many came to the defense of Dr. McKenzie and talking about the Packers' history of being "conservative" when it comes to injury, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said, "Doc has always tried to protect me and my future, even if it meant protecting me from myself and my desire to get back on the field before I should."
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. He's done surgery on me twice, and I trust him and his opinion implicitly. Doc has always tried to protect me and my future, even if it meant protecting me from myself and my desire to get back on the field before I should. #gbpfamily #mydoc #ibackpat
Packers WR Jordy Nelson issued this statement: "In 10 years of being with the Packers organization and having multiple injuries and surgeries, I have never once felt pressured to play in a game. If anything, I have had to try and convince Dr. McKenzie and the athletic trainers to allow me to practice or play in a game. Dr. McKenzie is very cautious about putting players back on the field with an injury and always puts the player's health before the team."
Packer Jeff Janis retweeted Nelson's statement with the caption: "100% true."
Former Packer Tom Crabtree tweeted, "I have a hard time believing they tried rushing him back with that injury. In 2012 they were paying me far less than him, I was similarly ineffective on the field and they sat me in preseason game 4 with just a sprained shoulder."
Former Packer John Kuhn tweeted: "In 9 years of working with Doc McKenzie he never pressured me to play one time. In fact, I would argue that I pressured him to let me play at times."
On Thursday, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he enjoyed coaching Bennett, and stressed that it wasn't up to him to question Bennett's health.
"The individual should talk about the specifics of his injury. That's not for me to comment on. I don't think it's right to judge that, either," McCarthy said.
The Packers had high hopes for Martellus Bennett, who signed a 3-year, $21 million contract with the team.
Bennett had 24 receptions and 233 yards in the seven games he played for the Packers this season.
ESPN reporter and Cover 2 panelist Rob Demovsky reports that Bennett dropped 11.1 percent of his targets this season.