Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is preparing to enter his second season in the NFL. He was among four known 49ers players who traveled to Hawaii this week to take part in an annual training program put on by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.

The other 49ers defenders in attendance were Arik Armstead, Eli Harold, and Ronald Blair. The Sacramento Bee recently reported that 49ers rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas may also join the trip.

During the training program, Bennett shared the respect he has for Buckner and believes that he can become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That's high praise from one of the league's best defensive lineman.

"I'm lucky to be working with a guy like that," Bennett told KHON-2 in Hawaii. "I think DeForest will eventually be a Defensive Player of the Year. I think he has the talent to be able to do that. I think his physique – I keep telling him there's nobody like him. He's not normal. His body, his physique, his speed, it's not normal. So when you're not normal you can do not normal things and winning the defensive MVP is not normal for most people. I think he has the capability of doing that."

Buckner was honored to hear the kind words from Bennett.

"That's what gives me a lot of confidence," Buckner said. "Having a guy like him saying that I could be a potential MVP of the league one year? I mean, that means a lot. It makes me want to grind harder."

"We're all out here trying to get better and Mike is out here working too," Buckner continued during the interview. "We just got to learn from the great ones and he's an All-Pro, he's a Super Bowl champ, and he's out here working on the holiday so we gotta be out here too trying to hone our craft."

You can watch the full video below.



This is Buckner's second year attending Bennett's program. Last year, Buckner said that he picked up some of Bennett's pass-rush moves during the training program. Buckner went on to play in 1,007 regular season snaps and compiled 73 tackles and six sacks. The veterans within the group of participants – like then-Detroit Lions defensive end Wallace Gilberry (now with the Cincinnati Bengals) – also helped Buckner with his footwork.

Last week, Harold spoke on the Taylor Price Talk podcast about joining his teammates in Hawaii.

"Being with a guy like Michael, first and foremost, he's in the top 100 each and every year," Harold said. "That's a place where I want to be in the near future so picking his brain is first and foremost what I'm going to do and the main reason why I wanted to go to Hawaii with those guys."

Harold also said that another important aspect of the trip is bonding with his teammates and absorbing as much knowledge from the numerous players who will be participating.

"What I learn there, we'll be able to bring that back," Harold added.

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