Stetson Bennett returns to Rams’ OTAs: Why QB left Los Angeles last year before playing a snap

Stetson Bennett had a terrific college career, winning two championships at Georgia and compiling over 8,400 passing yards.

He set himself up for a future in the NFL after four collegiate seasons, and the Los Angeles Rams took a shot on the quarterback in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Matthew Stafford was still expected to be the starting quarterback in Los Angeles, but Bennett could have earned himself the backup role. Instead, the Georgia product mysteriously left the Rams organization prior to the start of the season.

Less than a year later, he’s returned to the Rams and is practicing with the team at OTAs. The Sporting News explains why he left and what he recently said about coming back to the team.

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Why did Stetson Bennett leave the Rams?

When Bennett left the Rams in September 2023, the organization placed him on the Non-Football Injury and Illness list. There wasn’t much explanation since head coach Sean McVay wanted to keep the information private.

“Out of respect for him and the situation, I’m going to leave all of those specifics and particulars in-house,” McVay said.

McVay later said the issue was “bigger than” football. That was all the public knew for certain about Bennett’s absence — the rest was speculatory.

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Bennett has since returned to the Rams and is gearing up for the 2024 NFL season. He remained mum on the reason for his absence.

“I think we’re going to keep that in house,” Bennett said.

Rams general manager Les Snead provided some new information on Bennett, however. He revealed in an interview with News 19 in Alabama that Bennett may have been worn out from leading Georgia to back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022.

“I know this: Last year was very beneficial for him,” Snead told News 19 in Alabama. “I think he took advantage of that year away from the game. You know what, he’s an exhausted human being based on everything he had done to walk on, to go to JUCO, to come back, to turn down small schools, say ‘I’m going to try to do this Georgia thing.’

“To win a job, then to win the thing, and then to determine, ‘I’m going to come back.’ And when you come back, it’s really win it again or you failed. And that does take a toll on a human being, so I was jacked for Stetson to be able to take that moment and breathe a little bit.”

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It wasn’t clear whether Bennett would return or not. McVay told reporters in January that even he wasn’t sure if Bennett would be back. Furthermore, the Rams signed Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason.

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Bennett and Garoppolo will fight for the backup spot in the 2024 season once Garoppolo returns from his two-game suspension.

Stetson Bennett college stats

Year School Games Completions Comp.% Passing yards Passing TDs INTs
2019 Georgia 5 20 74.1% 260 2 1
2020 Georgia 8 86 55.5% 1,179 8 6
2021 Georgia 14 185 64.5% 2,862 29 7
2022 Georgia 15 310 68.3% 4,128 27 7

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