The Bears opened their first organized team activities under coach John Fox on Wednesday, and tight end Martellus Bennett was not present.
It was an expected move for Bennett, who is looking for a new contract and had skipped the Bears’ voluntary minicamp and other workouts earlier this offseason.
Bennett has two years remaining on the four-year contract he signed with the Bears in 2013. Bennett is coming off his best season of his seven-year career. He had 90 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns and went to the Pro Bowl in 2014.
The workouts and OTAs may be voluntary but the Bears haven’t hid their displeasure over Bennett’s absences. The Bears’ current session of OTAs runs through Friday. A second session is next week.
Running back Matt Forte, as he promised, returned from his personal training and took part in the Bears’ first day of OTAs.
The Bears are installing a new offense under offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
“I haven’t seen [Bennett] in a while,” Gase said on May 8.
“I prefer guys be here, but if they’re not, they’re not,” Fox said on May 10.
Fox has said he expects Bennett to remain a Bear. General manager Ryan Pace also said on May 2 that Bennett has not requested a trade at that time.
But that hasn’t kept Bennett’s name out of trade whispers.
Bennett has been training at Brandon Marshall’s FitSpeed Athletic Performance center in Northbrook. Marshall and Bennett have the same agent.
“He may get traded,” Marshall said May 8 on WMVP-AM (1000). “There’s some things going on right now … but I don’t know, I don’t know. Let me stop.”
Bennett did share this photo on Instagram on Wednesday: