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John Schneider on KJR: Michael Bennett has torn rotator cuff, but will not have surgery

Post by Eric Williams on March 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm with 32 Comments »
March 26, 2013 2:49 pm

KJR-AM’s Mitch Levy had a lengthy interview with Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider this morning, touching on a wide range of topics.

Levy asked Schneider about Adam Schefter of ESPN’s report that recent addition defensive end Michael Bennett had a torn rotator cuff that he played with for the duration of the 2012 season while in Tampa.

Levy wondered if Bennett’s injury helped drive down his market value in free agency.

“It is true,” Schneider said. “Now, in terms of his market value, I can’t answer that. But I do know that he played every game.”

“With a torn rotator cuff?” asked Levy

“That’s my understanding,” Schneider said. “And it’s not a situation. Our medical staff felt comfortable with it, especially on a one-year deal. A lot of these guys have gone out – Dwight Freeney and Osi (Umenyiora) – a number of these guys are still on the market.

“And so when you saw this come out, it’s interesting that it came out on the same day that Elvis Dumervil signed his contract. So I’m not sure in the agent world that was a little bit of mudslinging that was going on, or whatever. But it just happened to come out that day, which was like a week and half after we signed Michael.”

Schneider went on to say at some point Bennett’s rotator cuff will need to be repaired, but that he will play with the injury this year, just as he did last year.

Levy also asked if the possibility of Matt Flynn remaining on Seattle’s 2013 is more likely as the team inches closer to training camp.

“I’m sure Matt would love the opportunity to go compete for a starting job somewhere,” Schneider said. “But at this point he’s with us. Just from a competitive standpoint, not to get too specific with you, it’s hard for me to say whether or not he will or will not be traded. But as of right now he’s right here with us.”

Schneider also seemed to imply that the team doesn’t expect to get back similar draft compensation in return for Flynn as San Francisco received for Alex Smith.

“If you’re talking about the Kansas City Chiefs, I can understand the reason they went the way they did,” he said. “The guy they chose has a number of starts behind him, and a lot of experience in different offensive systems.”

Schneider also talked at length about the Percy Harvin trade.

“Quite frankly the asking price was a little too high initially,” Schneider said. “So we kind of backed off. So it was just one of those deals that ended up coming back to us a little bit.”

Schneider went on to explain the team’s reasoning for giving up a first and seventh rounder in this year’s draft, along with a third rounder in 2014 for Harvin, stating it would have cost Seattle a third rounder to move up five to 10 spots in this year’s draft, and the team had been informed that they would receive a couple seventh round compensatory pick in this year’s draft.

Schneider also reiterated that a player like Harvin is not available in this year’s draft.

“We knew that we were going to have some extra sevens in the mix,” Schneider said. “And we were comfortable knowing that we’d still have 10 draft choices, and be able to acquire him.”

When asked if he was concerned about Minnesota’s reasoning for wanting to move Harvin, Schneider said he was in a similar situation with cornerback Mike McKenzie back in Green Bay.

“Mike McKenzie, a corner we had in Green Bay, just was done with the Green Bay Packers,” Schneider said. “And we were in a situation where we could just suck it up and deal with whatever he was going to bring to the locker room. Or move him for the best compensation we could possibly get for him. At the time I think it was a third round draft choice.”

Schneider also acknowledged that he may have been concerned about another team securing Harvin’s services (like NFC West champion San Francisco).

“I’d be lying to you if I told you that I wasn’t concerned about that,” Schneider said. “I don’t know if anybody else was. I know that it was something that I was concerned about to a certain extent. But if things would have gotten completely crazy, we would’ve backed out.”

While unwilling to give specifics, Schneider said the team is working on a couple extensions on core players set to the hit the market in 2014, similar to the extension with center Max Unger and defensive end Chris Clemons the team negotiated before training camp last year.

Two players who come to mind are safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. One contract that could have an affect on both of those negotiations is safety Dashon Goldson, who signed a five-year, $41.25 million deal with Tampa Bay, including $22 million in guaranteed money. Chancellor’s deal is up at the end of this year, while Thomas’ contract isn’t up until 2014.

“We’re working on a couple extensions,” Schneider said. “There’s some core players – not to get specific with you, I apologize – but there’s some guys that we’re working on. And that thing that’s unique about this is we want to keep drafting guys and taking care of our own. And hopefully we’re going to have a lot of very wealthy guys on this football team.

“But not everybody can be the highest paid player at their position. And so at some point there’s tough decisions that have to be made. But you just have to keep drafting well, and doing everything you can to keep your core together. So that’s what we’re working on right now.”

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Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. montanamike2 says:

    I’m glad we have a new thread.

  2. I wonder why Bennett didn’t get it taken care of as soon as the season ended? If anything, not having it taken care of probably hurt him more. He’s going to end up having the surgery eventually and if he’s with the Hawks, that means they are going to play into the first weekend of Feb. next year. I’m kind of confused.

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    That would be great if we can lock up Kam and Earl before the season starts.

  4. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I really like the way this FO is doing things. Sure we are going to lose some players down the line, however this FO will find a way to get compensation for them and further draft quality players to replace them.
    We are alot more like New England than we are like the Raiders now.

    Sorry Eric.

  5. chuck_easton says:

    Bennett probably didn’t want to enter FA just having come off surgery that would have put him in a positin of not being able to pass a physical right away.

    Now he has a team. If I understand it correctly there is a clause in his contract that states he only gets certain amounts of his pay for weeks that he’s on the ‘active roster’.

    If for any reason Seattle doesn’t get every game out of Bennett next season they only pay him for the ones he plays. Again, smart move on our FO’s part.

    Why guarantee a 1 year contract if you are getting damaged goods.

    The news is out there now. So regardless of how Bennett plays he will either be signed by a team that knows he’s going to need surgery or he signs a longer term contract with Seattle and then has the surgery done.

  6. FleaFlicker says:

    BobbyK: it might be situation where it’s simply a small degradation in performance. Shoulder surgery is not guaranteed. Given the choice between playing at a slightly reduced level, versus surgery with a possibility of making things worse…that would be a tough call. I think somebody said in the last thread that for the common folks like you and I, surgery is only done about 10% of the time and even for athletes it’s only a 50/50 proposition.

  7. Bennett probably wanted to show TB that he could play through an injury last year, and so didnt have surgery then. Also TB is cheap. They probably talked him into not having surgery. Then this offseason he was trying to get a long-term contract, and he may have decided that he had a better shot of getting it if he was able to show he could avoid surgery (and could pass a physical), rather than going and getting surgery done and being a gimp (who would fail a physical) during the FA signing period. Who knows?

    I just hope he kicks ass all over the place next year. I am really thrilled to have him back in a Hawk uni.

    GO HAWKS!!

  8. montanamike2 says:

    I think Chuck is right, he probably knew he wouldn’t get signed post surgery. I’m glad to have him back too, i was angry that we let him go in the first place.

  9. If there is a chance Bennett risks long-term damage or can make this worse, then the move not to have surgery is baffling for all sides.

    Assuming he does have a torn rotator cuff.

  10. It’d be nice to lock up Bam-Bam to a reasonable deal, but I think it is in his best interest to play out the 2014 season if he wants to get as much dough as he possibly can.

    Earl is going nowhere. He is way too important to Pete’s D to let go of. He’ll be franchised for sure when the time comes if he doesn’t agree to an extension before then.

    The Michael Bennett situation is a little bothersome, but this is only a one year deal we’re talking about. Besides, lets see what else comes along in terms of draft picks, as well as maturation in players like Scruggs and Howard before we get too wrapped around Michael Bennett’s health concerns.

  11. If Bennett didn’t get a long-term deal this off-season (becuase of the rotator cuff), there’s no way he’ll get one next year with it (it will only get worse). Players don’t want one year contracts, they want long-term security and he’s not on the road to getting that anytime soon. It’s a weird situation.

  12. tchristensen says:

    I agree Hawks won’t be able to re-sign everyone. I can see the team trading Richard Sherman in the last year of his contract as they’ll know they won’t be able to re-sign him. Good front offices plan for this through the draft. This FO seems to be on top of things.

  13. raymaines says:

    JS said of the Percy Harvin trade “But if things would have gotten completely crazy, we would’ve backed out.”

    It takes a reasonably wise person and person of strong conviction to be willing to incur a shot term loss in the hope of long term gain. I admire JS for that, and as long as he and the brain trust does a good job of analyzing the market and acquiring talent I’ll be a happy Seahawk fan.

  14. I thought things did go completely crazy on this trade. When was the last time a non-QB commanded this much in terms of draft picks?

  15. sluggo42 says:

    It’s a labrum, not a rotater. Not sure if you were on that?…

    Anyways, I had surgery for both. A torn labrum can be put off a lot easier than a rotator cuff. I think he could get the labrum repaired and still play this year

  16. raymaines says:

    I think there are two questions that have to be asked about the PH trade. 1) Would you have drafted him at #25? and 2) would you have move up to about #20 to draft him?

    You would give up your first round pick to get him at 25. It would also cost a seventh round pick and this years fourth round pick or next years 3rd round pick to move up to #20. In 2009 PH was drafted at #22 so it’s a fair question.

    The extra money involved is what you have to pay for a proven commodity. I think it was a fair trade overall.

    If PH is a happy camper and the Seahawks do well for the next five years it will have been a GREAT trade.

  17. Dukeshire says:

    Earl and Sherman are, in order, the two most important players on this defense (IMO). I can’t imagine either being traded or allowed to test the FA market. As much as I like Chancellor and hope they’re able to lock him up, I don;t put him in the same category as Thomas and Sherm.

  18. I wonder why no one came clean at the time of the signing regarding MB’s injury. I guess the info was available with some digging. I prefer the sober view of Hawk signings and I’ll admit that snagging MB right after Avril had me going pretty bat sheet crazy with excitement. Here’s to hoping he holds up when it counts the most.

  19. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Dukeshire- Kapooya! Kapooya! I agree.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    sluggo42 – Where has it been reported it was a torn labrum? Every report I’ve seen states rotator cuff.

  21. GeorgiaHawk says:

    According to Chris Wesseling at we have the strongest roster in the NFL.

  22. confucious says:

    I had my torn rotator cuff repaired in november. Prior to surgery any overhead work was extremely painful. arm movement at chest level and below was no problem. Playing pro football with that condition is an accident waiting to happen. To repair the rotator cuff the doctor has to cut a tendon where it is torn and stretch it out to re attach it to the humerus. Typical rehab is about 9 months. It takes about 3 months for the tendon to securely regraph to the bone. For me, this has been and continues to be quite the process (although I’m in my mid forties). For MB this injury comes at the wrong point of his career as he is seeking his big payday. I really don’t know what JS was thinking in signing this guy with this condition. this type of injury cannot heal on it’s own it can only get worse. My prediction would be Mb on IR early in the season.

  23. How do you pass a physical with that?

  24. bbnate420 says:

    Galena, it’s not about “coming clean”. This really is his private medical information, not community property. The average person doesn’t have to share your medical information with anyone not involved in your care. The only reason you hear about injuries in the NFL is so that gambler’s are kept happy. Oh wait, that’s not true, wink wink.

    BobbyK, I think he delayed the surgery in the hopes that he could still get a big contract if he proved he could play the whole season with it. That obviously didn’t happen. Plus, he hadn’t had a real big year until 2012. He probably wasn’t getting a big contract without the production he showed last year anyways. I would guess that he tries to make it through 2013, like he did in 2012, and then has the shoulder reevaluated and possibly operated on right after the end of the 2013 season. He then has a better chance of getting a bigger contract if he’s productive in 2013, albeit one with not a lot of guaranteed money or with protection clauses.

    Chuck, the contract is actually for a guaranteed 4.5 mil. He then has 300K in roster bonuses, which were reported to be tied to being on the active roster, and 200K in sack incentives. So, he’s getting most of his money regardless. They’re taking a small gamble. From Schneider’s previous comments, it seems they didn’t think there was any chance they could get him going into FA. He was presumably assuming he would get a fairly big long term contract. The injury prevented that. PC/JS had to decide if they were willing to take a one year gamble to get a player of his caliber.

    We still don’t know how severe his rotator cuff tear is. We probably will never know. The rotator cuff is comprised of 4 muscles and the associated ligaments and tendons. One person with a rotator cuff tear can have a significantly different injury than someone else with one. The severity and placement can be vastly different. There is a good chance that he will injure it further at some point. “Studies have shown that 40% of people show enlargement of the tear over a 5 year period.” (Wiki) And I would guess most of those people weren’t playing in the NFL. I would guess that he doesn’t have a full thickness tear seeing how he was able to play, very well at that, a season with it. Also, the Hawks medical staff was comfortable with it for at least a year. If he wasn’t an NFL player, they probably wouldn’t even consider surgery. “There is no solid evidence that rotator cuff surgery benefits patients any more than non-surgical management.[43] A percentage of patients never regain full range of motion after rotator cuff tear surgery.” (Wiki)

    When they first signed him, I was thinking that they would make a choice between keeping Red and signing Bennett to a longer term deal after 2013. After 2013, Red’s base salary is not guaranteed. This probably nullifies that. I’m not sure they would be comfortable banking on Bennett long term if he continues to treat it non-surgically after 2013 or until he comes back successfully from having surgery.

  25. bbnate420 says:

    I couldn’t find any stories describing it as a torn labrum. All I see is torn rotator cuff. A torn labrum would be much better.

  26. piperfeltcher says:

    Bennett has not made a lot of money at this point in his career and if he was to have the surgery and not be ready for the start of the season he would have been forced to take a min. contract and if he gets hurt again or has a bad year may never get a big pay day. This way he plays with the injury for this year and him and his family never have to worry about money again and he gets it fixed next year. This was a smart move on his part if you ask me.

  27. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Agree piperfeltcher.
    5 million is alot of money to me. Enough to retire on my budget that’s forsure.

  28. bbnate–excellent points on rotator cuff injuries. Impressive. Seems kind of like back surgery; to be avoided at all costs, as the risks are worse than the symptom.

    Im rooting hard for Bennett. Thanks for the info!

  29. PFF ranked M.Bennett 7th in overall performance amongst 4-3 DEs for both the ’11 and ’12 seasons, and 58th in ’10. If you just look at his pass rush performance MB ranked 10th in ’12, 24th in ’11, and 123rd in ’10. Looking just at run-stopping MB ranked 7th in ’12, 2nd in ’11, and 35th in ’10 (way above most dedicated pass-rushing 4-3 DEs and pretty close to Red Bryant’s performance.) MB played mostly LDE, I didn’t find when he might have played inside for TB where it’s been said SEA wants him to play (3 Tech). At the end of his ’11 season TB tendered RFA MB with a 1st round tender (even though he went undrafted.) It was the 2nd game in Nov that MB was listed on the injury report and played with a shoulder, prior to that he was listed with an ankle (and played.)

    This is from memory so look it up if it seems wrong and correct me. The rotator ‘cuff’ is the 4 tendons/ligaments holding the ball of the upper arm bone to the muscles of the shoulder joint. The ‘socket’ is formed on the end of the scapula bone. The little indent of the scapula isn’t much so the labrum is like a gasket that’s glued to the scapula to form a deeper socket. That’s where QBs sometimes get injured when the get hit in the throwing arm when in the act of throwing. Other players get labrum tears when they land funny or get their upper arm jambed perpendicular to their shoulder. The tear usually separates the labrum from the scapula. To fix the labrum tear doctors screw anchors into the scapula and tie the torn part of the labrum back down to the scapula then the torn part eventually heals back together.

    Rotator cuff tears can be the chronic wearing away kind like for old guys like me or the acute traumatic kind like for guys like MB. The slow kind can be put up with without surgery, but the acute type is best repaired sooner than later. Above the cuff is the collar bone and at the end of the collar bone is the “a” bone (acronis?) which has a slight hook down on the end. The a-bone is covered with the delts. With old guys, that a-bone can grow into something with a can-opener looking thing on the end that just keeps digging into and wearing away the cuff. Other times the hook can be jambed into the cuff and cause a gash that’s prone to tear. A tear can eventually migrate clean to the bone. If that happens all kinda bad things can happen. The worst is the complete separation of muscle from the upper arm bone. The separated muscle turns into fat if it isn’t reattached, and once it’s turned into fat it can’t be turned back into muscle and can’t be reattached.

    JS wouldn’t hire MB and PC play him in a spot where he’s more likely to be placed on IR sooner, if they didn’t have a pretty darn good feel for the severity of the injury and the likelihood of success.

  30. bbnate420 says:

    klm008, you’re pretty much spot on with regards to the rotator cuff.

  31. Rotator cuff injuries can be nasty – this much is well documented. Baseball players would seem to be the types of athletes that that sort of injury would greatly affect.

    What I’d like to know is how many different players in the NFL over the last decade have been forced to retire early or even had their careers significantly stifled due to a rotator cuff injury; because for the life of me I cannot even think of one name off of the top of my head, and I am someone who watches a lot of pro football.

    Ok, I lied. One name (I think): Drew Brees.

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