Stetson Bennett Returns to Rams Following Enigmatic Rookie Year Hiatus

Stetson Bennett navigates hurdles on his NFL path

by Zain ul Abedin
Stetson Bennett Returns to Rams Following Enigmatic Rookie Year Hiatus
© Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Stetson Bennett, the two-time national champion quarterback, has rejoined the Los Angeles Rams for their offseason program, signaling a notable return after an obscure hiatus during his rookie year. Selected in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Bennett's debut season was unexpectedly curtailed when he was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list in September, ahead of the Rams' Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The reason for Bennett's absence remained largely undisclosed, with Rams head coach Sean McVay offering only cryptic remarks about the quarterback's situation. "There are certain things that I think are a little bit bigger and more important, and out of respect for the particulars and the specifics, I want to keep it in-house," McVay stated last year, emphasizing the privacy of the matter.

Despite the setback, the 26-year-old quarterback, who was initially pegged as Matthew Stafford's backup for the season, appears to be making a positive impression upon his return. "He's had a good look in his eyes. He's been attentive in the meetings," McVay shared, reflecting optimism about Bennett's current state in the team dynamics.

Bennett's Challenging Journey

Bennett's road to and through the NFL has not been without its challenges. Notably, he faced a personal setback when arrested for public intoxication in Dallas in January 2023, shortly after his college team, the Georgia Bulldogs, secured a national championship win over TCU.

This incident raised concerns about his professional future. "It was a mistake that everybody's aware of," Bennett admitted at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, acknowledging the potential impact on his draft prospects and expressing remorse particularly towards his family.

As Bennett reintegrates into the team environment, participating in team meetings and strength training, the Rams have also moved to bolster their quarterback lineup by signing Jimmy Garoppolo to a one-year deal following his brief stint with the Raiders.

This addition underscores the competitive atmosphere Bennett will face as he works to establish his role within the team for the upcoming season. The Rams, under McVay's leadership, continue to navigate the complexities of building a team capable of returning to Super Bowl contention, with Bennett's journey back to the field being a key storyline as the 2024 season approaches.