"I didn't realize he was that famous until my wife was like, 'You know he's famous, right?'" Bennett said with a laugh this week. "I was like, 'Oh, OK.'"
McCready, the lead guitarist for the Seattle-based rock band, was set to perform the national anthem before the Seahawks' home opener Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. McCready and Pearl Jam as a whole have heavily supported various causes over the years, including those aimed at promoting social change. He wanted to show his support for Bennett, who has been among the most active of NFL players trying to do the same.
Bennett has sat for the national anthem since the start of the preseason in what he's described as a protest of inequality in America. He did again Sunday as McCready performed. When McCready finished, he turned around his guitar and held it up to reveal Bennett's No. 72 in Seahawks colors pasted on the back.
"We talked about it a couple days before," Bennett said. "He wanted to do something and that was pretty cool that he decided to do that."
Bennett was among the players whose names appeared on a recently leaked memo written to the NFL in August seeking, among other things, for the league to dedicate a month to activism awareness.
McCready told ESPN.com: "I respect Michael Bennett and I support him 100 percent. I'm looking forward to our families spending more time together, and figuring out how to collaborate on some of his foundation's programs for kids."
Bennett appreciates McCready's support.
"Even though we're from two different parts of the world, he's a musician and I'm a football player, for [him to support me] means a lot," he said.