Quarterback Stetson Bennett's journey to the NFL has been anything but linear. He went from Georgia walk-on to transferring to junior college, transferring back to Georgia and then helping lead the Bulldogs to consecutive College Football Playoff national championships in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Bennett, a 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist, did enough in his senior season at Georgia to be selected 128th overall, in the fourth round, of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Now, his professional football journey is on pause as the Rams placed him on the reserve/non-football injury list Wednesday. That means he is not suiting up with the team for an undisclosed reason, not involving an injury on the field. The team also made a notable transaction at the quarterback position by signing Brett Rypien to the 53-man roster to serve as Matthew Stafford's backup, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Rams head coach Sean McVay refused to get into any specifics about Bennett's situation at his press conference on Wednesday, describing what's going on with the 25-year-old rookie as "bigger than football."
"I'm not going to have any follow-up information or anything that I will give in that regard," McVay said when asked about Bennett's status. "I really hope that you can please respect my wishes and regards to keeping that in-house. I understand you have a job to do, but there are certain things that are a little bigger and a little more important than the particulars and the specifics. We want to keep it in-house, and that's where I want to leave it please."
When asked how Bennett's absence could impact the quarterback room behind the 35-year-old Stafford, McVay went right back to his company line about Bennett's situation being bigger than football.
"I think there are certain things a lot bigger than that [the Rams' quarterback room situation]," McVay said. "The fortunate thing for us is Brett Rypien has been with us in-house. He is on our practice squad. He was the backup last week, and he is going to continue to be in that spot until anything changes on that note [Bennett's situation]. That's where we are at right now."
Rypien, the 27-year-old undrafted free agent who is also the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Rypien, bounced on and off of the Denver Broncos roster from 2019 to 2022. The Rams signed him to a one-year deal in free agency this past offseason, released him on roster cutdown day and then signed him to their practice squad on Aug. 11. He was elevated from the practice unit to serve as the backup in Week 1 and now that move is more permanent with him being signed to the 53-man squad going forward.
Given that Stafford suffered multiple injuries in 2022 with his neck as well as a concussion that caused him to miss eight games, having a reliable player behind him just in case of emergency is of importance for the 1-0 Rams.