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Fox expects TE Bennett to be on team

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Amid reports that the Chicago Bears are fielding offers for Martellus Bennett, coach John Fox said Thursday he expects the tight end to be on the Bears’ roster once the draft concludes.

Bennett wants a new contract and the team has been taking calls about him, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday. Bennett has not been participating in offseason workouts with the team and he missed the Bears’ three-day minicamp this week.

“I have talked to him,” Fox said Thursday. “I kind of know where he is. Like I said yesterday, with anybody that is not here, I prefer they are here. But he’s part of our football team and we’ll leave it at that.”

Asked if Bennett is in the team’s long-term plans, Fox said, “That’s kind of tough question to answer on anybody. I don’t know yet. We are just evaluating practice and this is our first opportunity (to look at players) over this week.”

Bennett told NFL Media on Wednesday, “I’m really not paying attention to that kind of stuff. I’m just trying to prepare and have a great season with the Chicago Bears. If something should happen to change that, then I’ll have a great season somewhere else.”

Bennett, 28, had his best season in 2014, leading NFL tight ends with a career-best 90 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

Bennett signed a four-year, $20.4 million deal in 2013 and is due about $5 million in each of the next two seasons. He will become a free agent in 2017. The top tight ends make at least $7.5 million a year.

According to Schefter, the Bears discussed trading Bennett to the Seattle Seahawks before the Seahawks acquired Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints last month.

Coincidentally, Bennett’s brother, Michael, also is seeking an upgraded contract from the Seahawks, although the defensive lineman previously shot down a report that he wanted a trade. Michael chose the Seahawks over the Bears — and a chance to play with his brother — last offseason.


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