There are siblings who grow up as fierce rivals, people eager to beat their brother or sister in any competition.
Then there are the Bennett brothers, Michael and Martellus, who aren't exactly eager to face off on an NFL field Sunday when the Chicago Bears come to Seattle to face the Seahawks. The two usually talk every Sunday via FaceTime, conversations that included pointers on how to best an opposing offense or defense, but that tradition will take a break this week when the two NFC teams play at CenturyLink Field.
"Honestly, I don't look forward to playing against Michael," said Martellus Bennett, Chicago's starting tight end. "We've never been two of those brothers that are super competitive against each other. We've always been on the same team. So I kind of dread lining up against him, but it's just one of those things that we have to do. I'm not ramping it up like, 'Oh, I'm going to kick your (butt), or you're going to kick my (butt).' It's more like I'm just always hoping my brother plays well and just hope for the best for him."
Adds Michael Bennett, the Seahawks defensive end who is a year and a half older, "I feel the same way. I don't like playing against my brother. It's hard to make your mindset go against somebody who's your family… It's always the same thing. Butterflies in your stomach, it's hard."
Yet like it or not, the two will not just be on opposing teams, they might line up across from each other from time to time, though as Michael Bennett notes, Cliff Avril is usually the Seahawks defensive end lined up on a tight end.
But if Martellus Bennett is tasked with blocking his brother, Michael says, "Not too many people can block me; I don't think he can."
What makes a Bennett Brother matchup so intriguing isn't so much the possibility of them facing off on a particular play, but more the prospect of what could happen when two of the NFL's most unique characters are in the same building. Smart, funny, creative and outspoken, both Bennett's have been known both for their strong play in the NFL, but also for how quotable they both are, whether that's on a goofy topic or a serious issue.
Michael Bennett has made headlines in Seattle for everything from commandeering a police officer's bike for a victory lap after the NFC championship game to comparing quarterbacks to vegetables (he doesn't like either), while Martellus is just as funny and has off-field interests ranging from making animated films ("Zoovie: A Warm and Fuzzy Tale" is available online) to writing novels. One player refers to himself as the Black Unicorn (Martellus) and the other calls himself Black Santa (Michael).
But before you think they're two of the NFL's oddballs, consider Martellus Bennett's theory: "I just think we're two of the most normal people in the NFL, I think everybody else are the weird ones… Everybody tells us we're the crazy ones, but like Steve Jobs said, 'The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.'"
Maybe Martellus is right, maybe we're all the weird ones. But then again, this is how he explained his self-appointed nickname: "I was in New York and I was running down the sidelines, I had black tights on and I felt like a stallion. But then I was like, I'm a magic stallion, and a magic stallion is a unicorn. So it's like, you take the black beauty from the front of the book and you put a horn on it, you get the black unicorn. What's more awesome than that? Plus, I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and that would be my Patronus."
Weird or not, Martellus and Michael Bennett are two of the NFL's most interesting people, as well as key players for their respective teams, and on Sunday, they will also be reluctant sibling rivals.