PHOENIX – Michael Bennett is one of the good guys, so it makes sense that he has been wearing – and will continue to wear – a white cowboy hat as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
The versatile defensive lineman and team sack leader the past two seasons first appeared in the hat last Thursday for his media session at Virginia Mason Athletic Center during the Super Bowl bye week. Bennett said the hat belonged to a friend who had just died of cancer and that the friend's widow had given it to him.
But Bennett also wore the hat on the team's flight to Phoenix on Sunday and later added more substance to the story during the media session at the resort where the team is staying.
The friend was the father of a friend Bennett knew while growing up in the Alief community of Houston, Texas – Mark Alexander, who worked with kids in the area.
"He was like a guy who was a mentor to a lot of kinds around my neighborhood," Bennett said. "When he died, he had more than 500 people show up at his house. Even the funeral last week, there were so many kids that had grown up and done so many different things.
"I think the most special thing about his funeral is when his mom talked and she just said, 'He always said he worked with kids, but I didn't believe that he really worked with kids like that.' And to have so many kids come back. Kids were lawyers. Kids were bankers, teachers, coaches. To see all those guys come back and just be happy for him and his family and just to see all the people bring his family up was pretty cool."
So you can imagine how cool it was for Bennett to be the one who got the white cowboy hat.
"This was his favorite hat," Bennett said. "His wife gave it to me so I'm wearing it all week to give me some good luck."
So keep an eye out for Michael Bennett this week. He'll be easy to spot, because Bennett will be the guy in the white cowboy hat.