It Ain't Easy Being Three

The Michael Bennett saga has been an interesting one that has taken its share of twists and turns. But his latest turn -- being effectively demoted to No. 3 running back -- has him scratching his head.

The pro career of Michael Bennett has been one of highs and lows – going to a Pro Bowl in his second season to missing time with injuries in each of the last three.

Bennett was "reunited" in a way with running back Deuce McAllister in New Orleans. When Bennett was drafted in 2001 with the 27th pick, it looked as though the Vikings were going to get McAllister. None of the teams directly in front of the Vikings on draft day needed a running back, so it came as something of a shock when the Saints – who didn't have a first-round pick the year before as payment for trading all their 1999 draft picks in exchange for Ricky Williams – jumped in to grab Deuce.

At the time, coach Dennis Green called Bennett a "gift from God," but Bennett never lived up to his full potential and, when he became an unrestricted free agent, the Vikings made no effort to sign him – and neither did Green in his capacity with the Cardinals.

Instead, Bennett landed in New Orleans, where he signed a two-year deal with base salaries of $700,000 and $1.2 million with a signing bonus of approximately $2.5 million. It seemed clear the Saints wanted him as a change of pace back as well as insurance for McAllister, who sustained a serious knee injury last season. But, when the Texans made the shocking move of signing Mario Williams, suddenly consensus first pick Reggie Bush fell to the Saints.

Bush, who has many of the same qualities that made Bennett a first-round selection, has relegated Bennett to No. 3 duty and has him wondering about his future with the team.

"I thought I was brought here for a reason," Bennett told the local media. "But things happen. I can't be bitter. I have a job. I could if I was out on the street, but I have a job and I'm going to make the best of whatever opportunity is available."

Don't be surprised if the Saints shop Bennett around to a team that suffers an injury to its featured back early in the season.

* The Lions had a grievance filed on behalf of the players by the Players Association claiming new coach Rob Marinelli is too tough in practice. That should go over well with the new head coach. The Lions have already had two days of off-season workouts taken away by the league for similar incidents of over-working the help.
* The Vikings waived defensive tackle Cliff Washburn Monday. He had been signed off waivers from the Cowboys last month.
* Former Viking Randy Moss fired his agent, Dante DiTrapano, Monday. DiTrapino and his wife are facing charges of possession of a large amount of crack and powder cocaine.

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