New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett was the subject of severe backlash this weekend as questions continue to swirl around his reported shoulder injury.
Bennett, who played with the Patriots last season and was a part of their historic Super Bowl LI win, signed with the Green Bay Packers over the offseason. He started in seven games through the first nine weeks for Green Bay, but the team ultimately cut him on November 8, citing a failure to disclose a medical condition.
The tight end had previously revealed that he was considering retirement and surgery on his injured shoulder. However, those options seemed to be swept off the table when Bill Belichick and the Patriots came calling late last week.
Just two days after being waived by Green Bay, Bennett was back on the football field for practice alongside his old teammates in New England. After practice, he took to Instagram to blast the Packers' medical staff, saying team doctors knew of his injury and forced him to play through it, damaging his shoulder even further.
"My shoulder wasn't where it is now at the beginning of the season," Bennett claimed. "I f---ed it up playing for the Packers."
Several Packers players then took to social media to defend Green Bay's doctors.
Bennett continued to raise eyebrows on Sunday when he suited up for the Patriots in Denver and collected three receptions from Tom Brady for 38 yards. Though it was a quieter performance than the Patriots' other star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, had, it still left many wondering how severe Bennett's reported shoulder injury actually is.
Fans and former players took to Twitter to criticize Bennett after Sunday's game, with many calling him a "fraud" and a "liar."
Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was one player to quickly come to his teammate's defense.
After Sunday night's game, Bennett opened up even further about his departure from Green Bay, saying he had a "vengeance" in his heart after being waived for an injury he insists he tried to get fixed.
Bennett also revealed that he told his agent to tell teams not to claim him. Even when Bill Belichick called, Bennett said he needed time to consider whether or not he still wanted to play -- then Tom Brady sent a text asking him to come back to New England, and the choice was made.
While Sunday night's evidence points to Bennett being healthy enough to play, he could still opt for surgery, or choose retirement at the end of the year. With seven games left on the Patriots' schedule and a probable postseason run, there's a lot that remains to be seen out of one of the most controversial storylines of an already wild NFL season.
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- This article was initially published on AOL.com: Martellus Bennett facing backlash after playing with Patriots days after being cut by Packers