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GM Ryan Pace insists no rift exists between Bears, Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett had 53 catches for 439 yards and three touchdowns this season. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace softened any possible rift between the organization and tight end Martellus Bennett on Monday.

"No, no. Not at all," Pace responded when asked if the Bears relationship with Bennett is strained.

Bennett landed on injured reserve with a rib injury on Dec. 8. This move came as a surprise to many, because just two days earlier, Bennett played 60 snaps against San Francisco. Bennett finished the game.

"Martellus, as you guys know, is a versatile player," Pace said. "He's very athletic for his size. He's a good blocker, good receiver, and good in the red zone. Unfortunately he got hurt. The first thing is he's got to get healthy, you know? But I think everybody, all of our players are going to try and get better for next year, including him. The first thing is he's got to get healthy and we'll go from there."

Bennett, who openly questioned his role on offense before the injury, missed the entire voluntary portion of the offseason program over a contract dispute last year.

Is Pace worried that history will repeat itself?

"We haven't even got to that yet," Pace said. "I'm sure I'll talk to his agent, we'll talk to him more -- we just played yesterday -- and again those meetings will be thorough as we go through this week."

Bennett has one year left on his contract at $5.085 million. The Bears will carry $1.125 million worth of dead salary cap space if they release him.