FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One day into his New England Patriots career, tight endMartellus Bennett said Thursday that he's excited to team up with Rob Gronkowski to form what could be the NFL's best one-two combination at the position.
"I think Gronk has always been an awesome tight end, and I look forward to learning more from him," Bennett said during a conference call with reporters.
"There are some things that he does that I don't do, and I'm pretty sure there are a lot of things that I do that he doesn't do. So it will be a good challenge to push each other and continue to help us grow as individual players as well as a tandem, to do whatever we can to help the team."
Since 2013, the 6-foot-6, 273-pound Bennett ranks second in the NFL among tight ends in yards after contact, trailing only Gronkowski.
"One thing we both love to do is run with the ball in our hands," Bennett said.
Bennett, who had been in California with his wife and daughter when he learned of the deal, wasn't taken by surprise.
"I didn't know where, what or when/how it was going to happen, but I knew the possibility was coming," he said. "So just like any other thing in life, you just be prepared to make sure you flow where the wind goes, try to be a dandelion."
Bennett's 2015 season with the Bears ended when he was placed on injured reserve Dec. 8 with fractured ribs. Asked about the health of his ribs Thursday, he said, "I'm healthy. I like my ribs barbecued."
As for his three seasons with the Bears, Bennett disagreed with a question framed in the context of things not working out.
"I don't think it didn't work out in Chicago. I thought I played very well in Chicago. I put up great numbers, did some great things, made my first Pro Bowl there," he said. "Statistically, I thought it was a great job."
Otherwise, Bennett didn't seem overly interested in looking back to his time with the Bears, deflecting a question on whether it was fair to say the relationship between him and Bears management soured.
"I'm all about the future," he answered. "I'm a progressive person."