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Seahawks Trade Defensive End Michael Bennett To Philadelphia Eagles

The Seahawks received wideout Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick in exchange for defensive end Michael Bennett and a seventh-round pick.

The Seahawks traded defensive end Michael Bennett and a 2018 seventh-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles Wednesday in exchange for receiver Marcus Johnson and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick. The deal ends a five-year run in Seattle for Bennett, a player who was not only Seattle's most productive defensive linemen during that time, but also one of the team's most interesting personalities.

Bennett, who former teammate Red Bryant once described as a Renaissance man, was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Seahawks, but to simply describe him as a football player would be selling him short. Bennett was not just a game-wrecking pass rusher, but also a dedicated family man, a philanthropist, an activist, a comedian, an author, and occasionally after a big play, an overly enthusiastic dancer.

"I think everything is about more than football," Bennett said last summer from his offseason home in Honolulu. "As an athlete, you want to be able to transcend sports. Not just be relevant in your sport, but be relevant in things that matter outside of sports. To be able to talk to kids about life, school, community, health. I want to empower young athletes to use their platform."

Dear Seattle, #12s, You have meant so much to me and my family! I thank you from the bottom of my heart. First and foremost I want to thank my wife and family, for always supporting me and helping guide me in every situation. My wife is the backbone of our family and I am truly blessed to have her and our three daughters. I of course want to thank Paul Allen, Pete Carroll, John Schneider, Peter McLoughlin, Erik Kennedy and Mo Kelly for bringing me to the Seahawks and giving me the opportunity to help bring Seattle their first Championship. My teammates. My brothers! More important than any championship or ring are the relationships I have made with the men in that locker room. We experienced marriages, births, deaths, and everything in between, and those are moments I will cherish forever. Last but certainly not least, to the City of Seattle, one of the best in the world. You fans are world class. The way you support us players on and off the field, helping to build bridges across our communities and understand what it means to give back and be community-minded. I am forever grateful for allowing me to grow and evolve in this time that I’ve had with you. I expanded my family in this city, I had one of my babies here. This truly was home for us and it’s been such an incredible five years. I want to assure you that the work we have started here with The Bennett Family Foundation will not stop. We are committed to this city, community and the schools we serve. It’s been a blessing to be able to meet so many great people through our work, and share our passion and dedication to better the World, and we look forward to meeting so many more of you. We are just getting started. We thank you, we love you, God Bless! Love, Black Santa

A post shared by Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) on

And transcend Bennett did. Bennett, who began his career with a brief stint with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2009 before establishing himself during four seasons in Tampa Bay, returned to Seattle as a free agent in 2013, signing a day after Cliff Avril. Those two helped turn an already good defense into a historically dominant unit that helped Seattle win its first Super Bowl. But while Bennett developed into being one of the league's most respected and feared pass-rushers during his time in Seattle—49ers tackle Joe Staley once described Bennett as “probably the top defensive end in the NFL” —he also spent that time living up to Bryant's "Renaissance man" nickname.  

Now, after five memorable seasons that included that Super Bowl XLVIII victory, 39 sacks and three trips to the Pro Bowl, Bennett is off to Philadelphia.

Johnson, 23, gives the Seahawks a speedy young receiver to add to the competition at a position group that could lose players in free agency. Undrafted out of Texas in 2016, Johnson spent most of his first season on Philadelphia's practice squad, then made the 53-man roster out of camp in 2017, appearing in 10 games with five catches for 45 yards.

Bennett's tenure in Seattle will be remembered not just for big plays on defense, but also for indelible moments like his impromptu bike ride around CenturyLink Field on a commandeered Seattle Police officer's bike following an improbable NFC championship game victory over the Packers, and for his numerous zingers in press conferences, and most notably, for his considerable work in the community. The Seahawks' 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee, Bennett has used his platform to help people around the world, from Hawaii to South Dakota to Haiti to Africa to here in the Pacific Northwest. Bennett has also found the time to help write and publish a children’s book with his wife, Pele, and their three daughters, and he has another book, "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable" coming out next month. 

"I think I've lived the Nina Simone song Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood,'" Bennett said last summer.  "… I'm just a different type of person. Big Red always called me the Renaissance man because I'm always into different things—music, what I read, how I'm always trying to evolve as a person. I never stay the same, and I think sometimes that gets misunderstood with me."

Bennett's evolution as a person will now continue in Philadelphia, but he'll always be an important part of the most successful era in team history.

"Michael was a foundational block of our success," the Seahawks said in a statement. "We appreciate the energy and passion with which he played and the leadership he brought on game day. We will always be grateful for his fun-loving spirit that endeared him to 12s, and for his commitment to our community."

Take a look back at some of the best photos of defensive end Michael Bennett during his five NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

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