Packers issue a statement in response to President Trump’s anthem comments

Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy issued a statement in response to comments made Friday night by President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in which he called for NFL players to be “fired” for not standing during the national anthem.

“It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”’

The comments that Murphy and leaders of other NFL teams felt needed to be addressed included Trump saying, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”

To this point, no players on the Packers have taken a knee or been seated during the anthem, though tight end Martellus Bennett held his first in the air prior to the season opener against Seattle as his form of protest. However, several took to Twitter on Saturday to show their displeasure with Trump’s words.

“I’m OK with being fired for what I believe in,” wrote Bennett.

Teammate Davante Adams, who uses his Twitter account sparingly, also commented.

“We’ll “stick to football” when we see progress,” the wide receiver wrote. “Our Nations leader can’t even set a good example of how it looks to be a great American.”

Green Bay will host Cincinnati at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.

Ted Thompson on anthem protests: ‘Free people can do what they like’

The Green Bay Packers haven’t yet been forced to react to one of their players not standing for the national anthem, but we now know what general manager Ted Thompson thinks about it.

At his weekly press conference on Thursday, the 64-year-old was asked about the form of protest that has seen former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and others not stand during the anthem as a way to bring attention to what they believe is the oppression of people of color in the United States.

“If you’re asking me from a personal standpoint, [it’s] not what I would,” Thompson said. “[But] this is a free country in my opinion. Free people can do what they like.”

Coach Mike McCarthy has put an emphasis on teaching his team each year what the national anthem is about, going so far as to give a Powerpoint presentation.

“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means and why it’s played before any [NFL] game,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.

“That’s something we did right before Family Night, which is the norm.”

Bennett’s brother, Martellus, plays for the Packers, and he told reporters this week he backs Michael’s stance, but stopped short of saying he’d follow suit.

“I’m more of an in-the-moment type guy,” Bennett said Tuesday. “I don’t pre-plan anything like that. If it happens, it happens.”

Green Bay plays its second preseason game on Saturday night at Washington.

Packers’ Martellus Bennett backs his brother, says athletes have a right to speak up

Michael and Martellus Bennett are very similar people in the way in which they express themselves. So it was no surprise to see the latter show his support for the former’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem prior to the Seattle Seahawks preseason opener on Sunday.

“I think he’s very well educated on what he wants to happen in the world and what he’s trying to communicate,” Martellus Bennett said Tuesday of his brother, a defensive end for the Seahawks. “I think he does an awesome job and I love him to death. I think he’s very courageous in the position he’s in and the things he says.”

Michael Bennett’s decision to sit came a year after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first drew criticism for sitting during the anthem as a way to protest what he viewed as the oppression of people of color in the United States. And more timely, Bennett’s display came a day after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, resulting in the death of one counter protestor and more than 30 injuries to others in attendance.

On Monday, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley posted, in a tweet that has since been deleted, that athletes are role models that should leave personal opinions about race and politics alone. Essentially, be quiet and play the game. Martellus Bennett, the Packers current tight end, was not OK with that.

LISTEN: Martellus Bennett addresses the media following Tuesday’s practice

“He says we should be role models, but what role is he modeling? It’s like saying you’re a doctor and have no opinion. You’re a teacher, you have no opinion,” said Bennett, who signed with the Packers in the offseason. “You’re a truck driver. We don’t care what you have to say. Or you’re a reporter, why are you writing something about politics? You should stick to sports. It makes no sense.

“I don’t know what his intentions were, but I think there’s a lot of bad information just programmed [into us]. Guys have been programmed for so long that we have to re-program the youth so that they can think differently.

“I worry about the world and the country and the state we are in, not so much for myself, because I feel liked I’m already (expletive), but more for my daughter and my kids. I want to better the future for her so she doesn’t have to go through what we’re going through. There’s a lot of stuff that is repeating itself that shouldn’t. It’s 2017. I shouldn’t have to worry about guys with lynch mobs in Virginia. I should be flying a (expletive) car right now. What the hell?”

Asked if he might follow in his brother’s footsteps and stay seated on Saturday during the national anthem in Washington D.C., Bennett wasn’t willing to say one way or the other.

“I’m more of an in-the-moment type guy,” he said. “I don’t pre-plan anything like that. If it happens, it happens.”

Reports: Packers re-sign RB Christine Michael, host two other free agents

Christine Michael’s time with the Green Bay Packers will last longer than six games.

ESPN is reporting that the running back has re-signed with the team after visiting them on Wednesday.

Michael was claimed off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks midway through the 2016 season, and went on to carry the ball 31 times for 1144 yards and one touchdown in six games for the Packers, including 45 yards in a win over the Chicago Bears.

Bringing Michael back gives Green Bay three running backs on their roster, as he joins converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery and undrafted free agent Don Jackson in the team’s backfield.

ESPN’s Field Yates also reported that tackle Byron Bell visited Green Bay on Wednesday, while ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweeted that the team would be hosting defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois.

Bell was on the Tennessee Titans injured reserve all of 2016 after sustaining an ankle injury. Prior to that, though, he had started 72 of 78 possible games between the Titans and Carolina Panthers.

Report: Packers paid more for Bennett than sources indicated for Cook deal

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Former New England Patriots and Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett is now a Green Bay Packer on a three-year deal worth more than Jared Cook would have received, a source tells ProFootballTalk.com.

It was originally believed Bennett would be coming to Green Bay on a three-year, $18.45 million contract, but after the official figures were released, it actually checks in at $21 million. Cook, now presumably out of a job in Green Bay, says he never turned down an offer from the Packers, so there’s no way to know for sure what kind of offer would have been made. ProFootballTalk.com’s source says the Cook deal would not have been larger than the $21 million Bennett signed for.

Bennett will earn an average salary of $7 million, with a $2 million roster bonus coming his way in March of 2018 when the new league year begins. Spotrac.com lists Bennett’s market value at $6 million per year.

The unnamed source says Green Bay was willing to offer Cook no more than $6 million per year — a deal which included incentives.

Packers announce the signing of free agent tight end Martellus Bennett

The Green Bay Packers have dipped into the free agent market in a major way.

Tight end Martellus Bennett, most recently of the New England Patriots, is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Packers, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports.

Green Bay had reportedly made re-signing tight end Jared Cook a priority, but it appears once talks broke down earlier on Friday they moved on to Bennett, who should be an upgrade at the position. With the Patriots last season, the 30-year-old caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns as New England claimed its fifth Super Bowl title. The signing will give the Packers a chance to stretch the middle of the field, something Cook was able to do and something that had been missing since Jermichael Finley was forced to retire in 2013.

Bennett is known to speak his mind, and that’s likely at least partly responsible for him moving around so much during his 9-year career, with stops in Dallas, New York, Chicago and New England.

A foray into the free agent market like this is a rarity for Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Bennett will be the first unrestricted free agent he’s signed since 2012, the longest streak of any team in the NFL.

Bennett will join Richard Rodgers as the only experienced tight ends on the roster.