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Packers sign Bennett to fill need in starting tight end slot

New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett celebrates a touchdown catch against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Green Bay Packers have signed TE Martellus Bennett. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, announced the signing Friday.

Bennett has played in 135 games with 100 starts during his nine NFL seasons and has posted 403 receptions for 4,287 yards (10.6 avg.) and 30 TDs. He played for the New England Patriots in 2016 after three seasons with the Chicago Bears (2013-15). Bennett entered the NFL with Dallas as a second-round pick out of Texas A&M (No. 61 overall) in 2008, playing his first four seasons with the Cowboys (2008-11). He also spent one season with the N.Y. Giants (2012).

Bennett played all 16 games with 12 starts for the New England Patriots in 2016 and caught 55 passes for 701 yards (12.7 avg.) and seven TDs. He was tied for No. 3 in the league among tight ends in TD catches and ranked No. 6 among TEs in yards per catch.

Bennett registered a career-high 90 catches for 916 yards (10.2 avg.) and six TDs in 2014 with the Bears on his way to earning Pro Bowl recognition. His reception total set a single-season franchise record for tight ends, with his yardage total ranking No. 2 among TEs in team history.

Bennett has posted 50-plus receptions in each of the last five seasons, one of only three tight ends in the league (Greg Olsen, Jason Witten) to do so over that span. Among tight ends, he ranks No. 4 in the league in catches (318), No. 6 in receiving yards (3,441) and tied for No. 6 in TD catches (26) since 2012.


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