Aaron Rodgers' 'fast friend' Martellus Bennett comes to QB's defense

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Martellus Bennett sure has found a way to get on QB Aaron Rodgers' good side. Two ways, actually.

First, the Green Bay Packers' new tight end came to Rodgers' defense on Sunday after what he thought was an unnecessary hit on the QB by Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright. Then, after Bennett drew a 15-yard penalty for shoving Wright, the tight end hauled in a 26-yard reception with two minutes left that clinched the Packers' 17-9 season-opening victory.

“It’s my quarterback,” Bennett said. “I’ve always got his back. It’s a bad penalty at that moment in time, but I thought it was a cheap shot. I saw him out of my peripheral, which isn’t the best all the time. I always protect the quarterback. I’ll never let anybody take a cheap shot on my guy. That’s any guy on the team. I’ve got everybody’s back.”

Bennett, who began the day by raising his first during the national anthem -- a move he said was in support of his brother, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who has knelt during the anthem -- said he instantly apologized to coach Mike McCarthy for taking the penalty, but he did not need to say sorry to Rodgers.

“It meant a lot to me, it really did,” Rodgers said. “Anytime your teammates do something [like] that, it’s special. There’s been a few times over the years where guys have done stuff like that. Actually, twice last year with JC [Tretter] locking up [Vikings safety Andrew] Sendejo after I scored and he hit me, and then the whole team coming to my defense -- especially Randall [Cobb] and Tae [Davante Adams] -- right away in Tennessee. So those are moments you take with you for a long time, and I just told Marty right away, ‘Thanks.’ Didn’t feel like the hit was a painful hit that K.J. gave me, but I love Marty for doing that.”

It was a chippy game that saw Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane get ejected in the first half.

Rodgers said he and Bennett have become “fast friends.” Rodgers threw Bennett’s way six times, which resulted in three completions for 63 yards in their first regular-season game together. But the way Bennett came to Rodgers’ defense was perhaps his most memorable play.

“I think this early in the season, it kind of sets the tone,” Bennett said. “It lets guys know this is what we’ve got, this is who we are. Other people around the league will see it, and we’ve got to set the tone. You take shots on my quarterback, we’ll take shots on you. It’s the same thing if someone takes a shot on Ty [Montgomery] or Tae or Randall. All those guys are my boys, my brothers. A lot of my teammates came and said, ‘We’ll take that [penalty] every single time.' That made me feel good, even though I told Mike, that’s a bad penalty, I know better than that, but I just can’t let that s--- happen.”