A Salute to Bryan Bennett
There are those fans who always seem to get down on any athlete who chooses to leave the Ducks for another program. I feel a bit like Chris Crocker, but I just wish people would leave Bryan Bennett alone. He has done pretty much all he could for the Ducks, and now in some ways he’s doing even more — by leaving. Sometimes I think it helps to have a little perspective.
For those of us who aren’t Division I athletes, it’s hard to appreciate the height of aspirations athletes at that level have. Most D-I kids are the best football players on every high school field on which they step. Bennett, a three-year starter at Crespi High School in California, is no exception. He was a stud in high school, and I’m sure he’s been told more than once that he has NFL-level skills. But some fans wanted him to stay at Oregon and compete with lifelong linebackers for a spot at that position. That’s silly. Bennett was good enough to look spectacular as a freshman on our championship-caliber team, and in fact, his play off the bench was critical to the success of the season. Let him see if he can lead a team at the position he feels he was born to play.
Besides, now that Marcus Mariota has established himself as the starter I want every rep in practice that isn’t taken by M&M to go to the guy who appears most likely to replace him. Jake Rodrigues, Jeff Lockie, and Dustin Haines will all have a better chance to learn and prove themselves. Nobody ever claimed Bennett was Toxic (get it? Another stupid Brittney joke?), and his decision to leave may have an upside for the Ducks as well as a highly-deserved upside for himself. Bryan — thank you for your contribution! We wish you the best.