Seahawks defense end Michael Bennett has been ranked by his peers as one of the NFL's top 100 players for the third consecutive year, checking in at No. 46 on this year's NFL Network top 100 Players of 2017 list, which is voted on by NFL players.
Bennett, who has earned Pro Bowl honors each of the past two seasons, saw his position on the top 100 improve for the second year in a row after being 59 on last year's list and No. 90 two years ago. Bennett moving up on the list despite missing five games due to injury last season, and seeing his production drop as a result, demonstrates just how much his peers respect his play.
"Michael Bennett's a freak," Bills guard Richie Incognito told the NFL Network. "He is super disruptive. The guy is all over the place. The guy is super dynamic, he plays with great leverage… He's really the guy who stirs the drink up front for the Seattle Seahawks."
In addition to being one of the key pieces of Seattle's defense, Bennett has also made a big impact off the field as well. Through his foundation, Bennett has been fighting childhood obesity for several years, and this year he also announced that he will donate all of his endorsement money and half of the proceeds from his jersey sales to, as he wrote in an Instagram post, "help rebuild minority communities through s.t.e.a.m. (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) programs, as well as initiatives that directly affect women of color in hopes that we can create more opportunities for our youth and build a brighter future."
"It's one of those things where I want to invest in my community, and I want other athletes to go invest in their communities," Bennett said earlier this offseason. "If nobody else is going to invest in our communities, we should be the ones to go back and do something organic—try to create programs so disadvantaged youth can get opportunities that they don't have.
"I want to inspire other athletes, I want to inspire other people to go back and do it. There's so many great people doing so much good work, and all they need is more funds, or they need more word of mouth about what they're doing. It's one of those things where you want to inspire people to go back and create something in their communities… I've always felt strongly about (giving back), but it's finding a way to make it work; finding a way to be able to bridge that gap, finding a way to use our platform for good, not just being marketed, but more about helping change the community. How do we change our communities? How do we take that platform that Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali and all these great athletes set up for us and follow in their footsteps?"
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett hosted a dinner and auction on Saturday, May 20 at El Gaucho in Bellevue, where support from the evening went toward The Bennett Foundation's fundraising efforts to help fight childhood obesity.