Michael Bennett turns self in; GM says Eagles learned of incident Friday

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Monday, March 26, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett appeared before a judge Monday afternoon at the Harris County court in Houston following a felony charge of injury to the elderly related to an alleged incident at NRG Stadium after Super Bowl LI.

Bond was set at $10,000, and Bennett will be allowed to travel between his home in Hawaii and the Houston area for court appearances.

Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, speaking at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, Florida, said the team did not find out about the alleged incident until Friday, when the indictment was announced.

Roseman expressed full trust in the Seahawks organization and general manager John Schneider, dismissing any notion that Seattle might have withheld information, and said it was important to let the legal process play out.

"I think we're in a great country, and in this country, people are presumed innocent, and I think we have to be fair about that in all these matters," Roseman said. "I don't think it's fair in any situation to not give people the right to present their side. I don't want to get into this, but our overriding philosophy on things are people are innocent until proven guilty."

Schneider told NFL Network on Monday that he wasn't aware of Bennett's legal situation prior to the trade.

"I obviously can't comment on the whole situation he's got going on, but it was news to all of us," Schneider said.

Roseman stressed that the Eagles do thorough background work on players before bringing them in, a process that includes talking to current members of the team about their experiences with that player. The feedback they received on Bennett, Roseman said, was positive.

"What we found out is that he is a good teammate. They like playing with him," Roseman said. "Some of our players have been with him in the Pro Bowl; some of our players had trained with him, and we rely on information like that. Obviously, he came to our facility and we had a chance to sit down with him and talk to him."

Roseman said the team has been in contact with Bennett since the alleged incident came to light.

A warrant was issued for Bennett's arrest Friday after a grand jury indicted him on a felony charge of injury to the elderly.

A release from the district attorney's office states that Bennett was a spectator in Houston to watch his brother, Martellus, then a player for the New England Patriots, on Feb. 5, 2017. After the game, Bennett allegedly shoved his way onto the field, where players were gathering to celebrate, according to the DA's office. NRG security personnel, including a 66-year-old paraplegic woman, told Bennett he had to use a different entrance for field access, but the defensive end allegedly pushed through them, including the woman.

Speaking at a news conference Friday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Bennett allegedly told the people he had pushed, "You all must know who I am, and I can own this m-----f-----. I'm going down to the field, whether you like it or not."

The woman suffered a sprained shoulder, according to Acevedo. He noted that authorities are in contact with Bennett's lawyer.

The injury to the elderly charge includes intentionally and knowingly causing bodily injury to a person 65 years or older and carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

ESPN's Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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