NFL pro Martellus Bennett is on a mission to inspire kids


Last season, tight end Martellus Bennett helped lead the New England Patriots to their incredible Super Bowl victory. Now, he's suiting up with the Green Bay Packers and rolling out a football-themed comic book as part of his ongoing effort to spark creativity in kids, reports CBS News' Jan Crawford. 

For Bennett, football was always plan B. His new comic book series is just one small part of his plan A: A growing company called the Imagination Agency where the NFL star is churning out children's books, cartoons, clothing, apps and toys -- all with the goal of inspiring children to dream. 

The multimedia company is headquartered in the basement of Bennett's colorfully decorated home just north of Chicago. There, Bennett creates videos, writes books and comes up with ideas hoping to make kids like his daughter believe the impossible. 

"I feel like without imagination you cannot create solutions," Bennett said. "For me it's the whole idea of the Imagination Agency is to get kids to dream bigger."

Bennett also brings his message directly to communities where he feels it's most needed.

This summer, he visited with kids from Chicago's South Side, where more than 400 people have been killed so far this year. It's a place not too different than the Houston neighborhood where Bennett grew up.

Martellus Bennett CBS News

"When I look at those kids I see myself. I see my friends that I grew up with. And i see the crowd that was at my school," Bennett said. "Hopefully that when they look at me they see themselves and what they can become as well."

The Imagination Agency has already come out with one animated movie and is now working on turning Bennett's first book, "Hey A.J. It's Saturday," based on his daughter, into a cartoon series. A sequel comes out later this year.

There's also a line of children's shoes in the works in collaboration with the Chicago-based company Bucketfeet. Proceeds will go to help build a playground in Bennett's hometown of Houston.

"People expect me to be good at football. I've been good at football since I was a kid. They expect me to be able to do that. But people don't expect you to write a children's book, or make an app, or a movie where kids can relate, and they love it, and it's really, really, really, really good," Bennett said.

"The great thing about football is that gives you a platform where you can make a bigger impact to stand on," he said. "Some guys shout on the platform and some guys whisper."

And Bennett is using his platform to make a statement about what matters -- long after he leaves the field.