Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

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Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett met with reporters on Thursday while wearing a "Football Marty" hooded sweatshirt and a hat with a cartoon image of his face emblazoned on the front. 

Ever the business man, Bennett is trying to sell, sell, sell.

"It's called micro-branding," he said. "You focus on the area that you're in and then eventually people tell other people about it, then you branch out and do a little bit more so I started a little thing called Football Marty."

He's sold some gear, he explained, but it sounds like the stuff hasn't exactly been flying off the shelves. 

"I'm moving some. Not as much as I would like to," he said. "It's hard being a one-year guy in the market. A lot of people don't know if they want to invest in you because they don't know if you're going to be here next year or not. But I like the coolest stuff. So if you want to invest in cool, you want to invest in me."

Will the Patriots be looking to invest in Bennett? With the playoffs approaching, and with Bennett appearing to round into form physically after dealing with an ankle injury for most of the season, that's one question that faces the team as it looks at its long-term roster configuration. 

Bennett is in the last year of his contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free-agency in March. He'll turn 30 this offseason, and could command a deal that looks something like the one tight end Greg Olsen got from the Panthers headed into his 30-year-old campaign.

Asked if he could see himself in New England for the 2017 season and beyond, Bennett made it clear just how much he's enjoyed playing with the Patriots.

"I love it here," he said. "We’ll figure it out when it’s time to figure it out, but my family loves it here, I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city. When it comes around, it comes around. I ain't really tripping, like I said. I save my money pretty good. I’ve got a good, diverse portfolio, so I’m not really tripping right now."

The Patriots, of course, have provided Bennett an opportunity to do something he hasn't done since when he was with the Cowboys in 2009: Make the postseason. While he's used colorful means to describe all the winning he's done with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick this season, he's taking a more subdued approach to playoff football this week.

"I'm not very excited," he said. "It’s the bye week right now so I’m just chilling. I just save my energy, build up as it goes on. There’s no reason to have a lot of highs and lows this week, so I’m just trying to have good focus in practice and get better this week, take some time off and see what I can do to contribute and make the team better for the next game. We don’t know who we’re playing, so it’s hard to get excited about ghosts. But for overall, I’m just chilling.”

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.