By Chris Bumbaca


USA TODAY


After 11 seasons in the NFL, Michael Bennett is calling it a career.


The 34-year-old was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was a member of the Seattle Seahawks' 2014 Super Bowl team.


"Retiring feels a little like death of self, but I’m looking forward to the rebirth — the opportunity to reimagine (sic) my purpose," he wrote on Instagram announcing his retirement. "I would like to thank my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much for me to succeed. I’m looking forward to supporting them the same way they have me these past 11 years. I have never been more at peace in my life."


He also added a quote from author Toni Morrison: "Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."


Bennett has long been advocating on behalf of social justice causes within the NFL. His book, "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable," is being developed into a scripted television series. He told The New Yorker recently that he may not be on the level of activism Maya Moore and Colin Kaepernick have devoted their lives to, but he and other athletes can "do small things in their community to make change."


The Seahawks signed Bennett as an undrafted free agent in 2009, but his true break came months later when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed him off waivers. He returned to Seattle prior to the 2013 season and became part of the franchise's "Legion of Boom" defense. Between 2013 and 2017 with the Seahawks, Bennett racked up 39 sacks and forced seven fumbles.


The Texas A&M product enjoyed a solid 2018 with the Philadelphia Eagles (8.5 sacks, 14 tackles-for-loss) and signed with the New England Patriots before last season. The Pats traded him to the Dallas Cowboys for the final nine weeks of the year after he served a one-week suspension stemming from a disagreement with an assistant coach.


Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.