The first glance of Martellus Bennett at his home—a gleaming glass cube—unloading bouquets of fresh-cut flowers from his car, is a far cry from how most people usually see the pro football tight end: clad in an orange and blue Chicago Bears uniform, exploding into defensive linemen on down blocks or hauling in game-winning touchdown passes.
What’s in a name?
Austyn Jett Rose
Austyn: Chosen by Siggi. I knew a lot of boys named Austin but I had never heard of a girl named Austyn and I thought it was kind of cool.
Jett: Chosen by Marty. I wanted to give her options. Shes probably gonna go through phases, so Austyn is her masculine name. Jett is the bad ass name and Rose is delicate.
Rose: In part, inspired by Siggis obstetrician, Dr. Rosenberg.
Both of her parents have pretty unique names, so one of our name concerns was giving her options, Siggi says. Ive always hated Sigourney, so Ive always gone by Siggi.
My name means Greek god so Im happy with it, but people slaughter it, so I go by Marty most of the time, Marty says.
Seeing the 6-foot-6, 265-pound new dad, covered in tattoos, singing sweet songs to his almost 6-month-old daughter as she falls asleep on his chest, provides a similar contrast. Yet, the whole scene seems so natural.
Parenthood is a role that Marty and Siggi, his wife of three years, have fallen into with grace since welcoming Austyn Jett Rose into the world in March.
“I think I was just built to be a dad,” Marty says.
Siggi agrees that her husband has adapted well to the demands of fatherhood, a credit to his own father. “It was something that was implanted in him from a young age,” she says.
Marty, a self-described big kid who goes by nicknames Black Unicorn and Martysaurus Rex, is excited by the idea of having a built-in playmate.
“A lot of times I go and catch butterflies in my backyard by myself,” he says. “Now I have someone else to catch butterflies with.”
Butterflies, unicorns and dinosaurs aside, as it is with any set of new parents, life changed for the young couple when curly-haired, blue-eyed Jett came along.
Marty has traded dance clubs for reading clubs. “Now I know everybody at Barnes and Noble,” he says. “They know what books we like and email me when they come in.”
And celebrity aside, the same concerns of countless other parents plague them as well.
“We’re not comfortable having her stay with anyone just yet,” Siggi says. “It’s hard being able to trust anyone with something so valuable and something so sacred to you as your child.”
So for now, Jett, who makes the cutest third wheel ever, tags along with her parents to museums, dinner dates and even to the movies—a conscious choice Marty and Siggi made to keep their family unit tight.
“We’re good at spending time together and making it valuable and special for the three of us, and I think it’s just a natural progression,” Siggi says. “We can’t even remember what life was like before her.”
And the couple—who, with Marty’s silly and fun-loving personality and Siggi’s calm and collected composure, perfectly complement each other—don’t want to.
“Our relationship (before Jett) was awesome, but now I feel like it’s just one more person to be awesome with,” Marty says.
Marty and Siggi are both comfortable opening up their lives with Jett to their fans, much more so than others in the public eye, but none of it is done without thought.
Marty has carefully cultivated his image and uses social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, as a way to not only connect with his fans but more importantly, to portray the most honest version of himself.
“When you’re a public figure, your image is really controlled by the media,” he says. “I believe in authenticity and social media is my only time to truly express myself. A lot of guys make up these brands and they make up these people and they try to act a certain way. It’s all a façade.”
Marty’s realness seems to resonate with people. Case in point, his more than 27,000 Instagram followers and more than 92,000 Twitter followers. Marty’s monthly blog posts for ChicagoParent.com have also become a popular feature and a further extension of Marty’s reach to Chicago-area parents.
Marty’s posts are even spreading through the rest of the Chicago Bears roster.
“I get a lot of positive feedback from my teammates who are parents,” Marty says. “I talked to Cutty (Jay Cutler, Bears quarterback) one day and he said, ‘You’re just an excellent writer so it doesn’t really matter what you write.’”
Writing is just one of Marty’s many interests. In addition to authoring several children’s books, he dabbles in film making, toy art design and most recently, photography.
His jack-of-all-trades nature is a trait he hopes will rub off on Jett when she’s older, and being able to give her access to many different things and let her choose her own path is something Siggi says they’re blessed to be able to do.
“I don’t want to try to cater to one facet of her life,” Marty says. “I want her to try to experience art, experience sports, experience movies.”
And if Jett ever wavers in believing she can do whatever she sets her mind to, she doesn’t need to look any farther than her own father for inspiration.
“I have to truly set the example and go achieve every single dream that I’ve ever had so that when she’s old enough I can say ‘Hey, I went and did it, there’s no reason to say that you can’t,’” Marty says.
While playing football at the professional level is one of the dreams Marty has brought to fruition, he says it’s a miniscule part of his life in the grand scheme of things.
“I play because I just love kicking ass, like stiff arming people and competing, and just being out there with the guys,” Marty says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
For him, football is just a job. And while tempers can often flare during the high contact sport—Marty was suspended in August from training camp and one pre-season game following a scuffle with rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller—that ultimately doesn’t define who Marty is as a father or a husband.
What defines Marty is his family. He says nothing else matters. And one day, after the roar of 60,000 screaming fans at Soldier Field dies down, Marty hopes to become a stay-at-home dad.
“To everybody else football is so huge, but people work all day and they never like to talk about their jobs, so when I come home to Jett and Sig, I’m just daddy and the husband,” Marty says. “I’m not Martellus Bennett, the tight end of the Chicago Bears.”
“Ultimately, life is about the journey, and nobody really wants to travel alone,” Marty says.
No matter the journey, you can be sure the Bennetts will be cherishing every moment along the way. Together.