Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett on concussion, learning from rugby and potential code swappers

Rugby Union, Seattle Seahawks
Michael Bennett (left) presented with a Blues jersey by Tana Umaga. Photo credit: Photosport

Jarryd Hayne's fleeting experiment with the NFL was ultimately a failure but the impact that oval ball codes are now having on the gridiron is changing the game.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is currently in Auckland and attended Blues training on Monday.

The Super Bowl winning nine-year-veteran tackles for a living, but said studying rugby technique over the last few years has evolved his game.

"We are known for our defence," Bennett told Auckland media. "We call it Seahawk tackling but the reality is it's rugby tackling.

"We watch a lot of rugby. We watch to learn how to tackle better, be better defenders.

"Everyone that plays rugby is so tough and the way they play through injuries, and bounce back week in and week out - we look at them for inspiration to be tougher players and better defenders."

Bennett won the Super Bowl with Seattle in 2014.
Bennett won the Super Bowl with Seattle in 2014. Photo credit: Reuters
Bennett (72) with teammate Earl Thomas in 2015
Bennett (72) with teammate Earl Thomas in 2015 Photo credit: Reuters

The three-time Pro Bowl representative noted the attention the league, players and coaches have paid in limiting the amount of head injuries suffered on the field.

Harsher suspensions and fines for helmet-to-helmet contact have helped, but Bennett believes learning how to tackle safely is key.

"Being able to track and take our heads out of the tackle," Bennett said.

"When you have a helmet on, you can think you are invincible but to be able to know where your head is at, and be able to move and tackle with your shoulders. that's what we are learning to try and prevent injuries to some of our best players.

"Everyone right now is looking at ways we can prevent concussion, and protect the players and the young players coming through in both rugby and football."

Bennett was impressed with what he witnessed during the Blues training session, suggesting some of the squad members have the potential to swap codes in the future.

"So many of these guys could be In the NFL," Bennett said. "I see a lot of running backs and defensive ends out there.

"There are a lot of fast guys who, if they learnt the techniques, they would settle in just as well as they have here."

The Blues open their Super Rugby campaign against the Highlanders on Friday night.

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