Patriots suspend Michael Bennett for detrimental conduct

New England Patriots defensive end Michael Bennett, who wasn't present at Tuesday's practice, has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, according to league sources.

The suspension is a result of a disagreement between Bennett and defensive line coach Bret Bielema last Friday that was witnessed by some players, according to a source.

"On Friday, I had a philosophical disagreement with my position coach that has led to my suspension," Bennett told ESPN. "I apologize to my teammates for any distraction this may have caused."

Bennett's suspension was listed on the NFL's transactions wire.

Bennett played just 11 of 50 snaps in the Patriots' win over the New York Giants last Thursday. His first snaps came at the start of the second quarter.

Players reviewed that game with coaches on Friday before getting Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. They returned for practice Tuesday, but Bennett wasn't present. A game program and his belongings remained scattered around his locker Tuesday.

Bennett, 33, became one of the team's biggest offseason acquisitions when the club traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Bennett and a seventh-rounder. He was projected as a replacement for Trey Flowers, the team's sack leader from 2018 who had signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent.

But after playing 39 snaps in the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bennett has seen his playing time decrease as the defense altered its approach. Such changes in the game plan on a weekly basis are standard operating procedure for the Patriots.

Bennett played 25 snaps in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, then 19 vs. the New York Jets, 24 against the Buffalo Bills and 15 vs. the Washington Redskins.

Having primarily been a 4-3 defensive end over his career, Bennett has mostly been a situational pass-rusher with the Patriots. Part of that has been due to the emergence of linebacker Jamie Collins and nose tackle Danny Shelton, who are having career years as the defense has switched to more of a 3-4 scheme in base situations.