Bennett continues rise through coaching ranks
Almost 23 years ago, the Green Bay Packers used a fourth-round pick to draft a running back named Edgar Bennett.
He arrived in Green Bay the same year as Brett Favre. He shared a backfield with the future hall of fame quarterback. He won a Super Bowl.
Never, Bennett said, did he expect a day like Thursday.
The Packers' former running back was promoted to offensive coordinator, continuing an impressive climb through the organization's ranks. Bennett will replace Tom Clements, who was promoted to associate head coach of offense and given play-calling duties.
Yes, Bennett has come a long way since first arriving in Green Bay.
"You just kind of want to make the most out of your opportunities," Bennett said. "That's what we all said in the past, and that's the way we see it. With that, certain things stay true to who you are as far as your work ethic, the time you put into it, your preparation. All of those things factor into it.
"It was more about the task at hand and making sure that I gave them everything that I had in that role. Now I'm excited about this, the next journey."
Bennett didn't reflect much Thursday afternoon. He wasn't looking ahead, either. Multiple times, he reiterated the same message. His focus is merely on "the task at hand," nothing more.
But there's no mistaking Bennett's new place among the hierarchy of NFL coaches. Same for Clements. Before head coaches are hired, they work as coordinators.
"I think every assistant would like to progress in the profession as high as they can," Clements said. "I like it here in Green Bay. We have a great team. We'll see what happens."
Organizational changes to the Packers' coaching staff were designed to maximize the team's chances of winning a Super Bowl. That's always the first goal. It's no coincidence Clements and Bennett were promoted after Packers coach Mike McCarthy reportedly pondered earlier this offseason why his assistants weren't getting head coaching interest around the league.
Now, Bennett and Clements are in prime position.
"I hope so," McCarthy said Thursday. "I think anytime you give someone the opportunity (for) more responsibility, it feels very good personally. It's also the best part for our program. I hope people take notice. We've won a lot of games around here. This is a successful program for nine years. A big part of it is the development of young players, and our assistant coaches get that done year-in and year-out."