GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy would not directly connect the dots between tight end Martellus Bennett's retirement talk and what led to his unexpected release Wednesday.
Instead, the Green Bay Packers coach called it "an injury situation."
The Packers waived the veteran tight end with the designation that he failed to disclose a physical condition.
The move capped a rocky stretch for Bennett, who made a surprising bye-week announcement on social media that he was "pretty sure" he would retire after this season. He then was sidelined with an unexplained shoulder injury that popped up following the first practice after the bye. He hasn't played in a game since Oct. 22.
"Well, I mean, you can't deny the facts of your timeline and how everything went down," McCarthy said Thursday. "I mean, really, to tie all that together, you're asking me to get inside somebody else's feelings, conversation, more on a personal level. I think this all started obviously coming out of the bye week. Everything leading up to that, I can't really comment on it. And then we went down this injury path, and then here we are today. So, I mean, it'd be all speculation."
McCarthy said he never had a conversation with Bennett about retirement.
In seven games, Bennett caught 24 passes for 233 yards and didn't score a touchdown. He also dropped four passes, including one from Aaron Rodgers on the play when the star quarterback broke his collarbone in Week 6. Green Bay was 4-1 before Rodgers' injury but hasn't won a game since.
That the Packers released Bennett for failure to disclose a physical condition could give them grounds to try to recoup the unamortized portion of his $6.3 million signing bonus -- something they almost certainly would have done had Bennett retired after the season. They signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract in March and could be entitled to $4.2 million of his signing bonus.
Bennett, 30, took part in one practice after the bye week and appeared on the injury report the next day because of his shoulder. That's the injury the Packers contend that Bennett failed to disclose.
"He practiced, and then he had concern about his shoulder, and that's really it," McCarthy said.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, players must disclose previous medical history, even though team doctors perform physical exams before signing players to contracts.
It's detailed in Appendix A (8) of the CBA under the title "Physical Condition" and states: "Player represents to Club that he is and will maintain himself in excellent physical condition. Player will undergo a complete physical examination by the Club physician upon Club request, during which physical examination Player agrees to make full and complete disclosure of any physical or mental condition known to him which might impair his performance under this contract and to respond fully and in good faith when questioned by the Club physician about such condition. If Player fails to establish or maintain his excellent physical condition to the satisfaction of the Club physician, or make the required full and complete disclosure and good faith responses to the Club physician, then Club may terminate this contract."