THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – For several weeks, quarterback Carson Wentz waited... and waited... and waited for his next opportunity.
On Nov. 8, it finally arrived by way of signing with the Rams as the backup to Matthew Stafford – ending a 10-month wait to return to an NFL locker room.
"I will say, the NFL has a way of humbling everybody," Wentz said Wednesday in his first press conference with his new team. "And it's a process, but at the same time, I'm no dummy. I've seen it all, I know how this league works and I know kind of how last year ended, and I didn't play good enough. And so I was aware of what it could be. We all desire to be the guy playing, don't get me wrong. I think everyone would be lying to you if they said differently, but we all also know it's hard business, it's hard a league, and just to be on a team, to be around the guys, is a blessing regardless. So I'm thankful for that opportunity, and I'll help in whatever way I can and I'm going to be ready. I don't have to worry about next year, I don't worry about the following years, I can just be where my feet are and have as much fun as I can and help as much as I can."
Wentz took a week-by-week approach as he waited for a chance with another NFL team after being released by the Commanders earlier this year. Admittedly, remaining patient for such an extended period time wasn't easy.
"It's hard. Really hard," Wentz said. "My wife can attest, I'm not very patient, very much a planner, too. I would plan my week pretty much Monday nights when it was like, 'Is this week? Is anything happening? Talk to my agent, no (it's not happening).' So it was tough. It was definitely tough. But at the same time, it was a blessing in a way, too. I got to spend a lot of time with my family. Just a weird year for me, 10 months since I've been in the locker room, you know? So just staying ready and soaking up that family time. Got to hunt way more than I normally get would get to, and so been enjoying it, but staying ready at the same time."
That preparation took on different forms, from working with former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for a few days around the start of NFL training camps this summer – at the suggestion of his agent – to spending some time training in California (south of Los Angeles), to gathering to anyone who was willing to catch passes so he could get throws in once the season began.
"I've thrown to some receivers, some live, but once once the season started, I had been throwing to my older brother, throwing to some guys that work with us, just kind of anybody willing to come be a body out there," Wentz said. "So a little different these last couple of weeks and then coming in here, but at the same time, it's been fun. Kind of just pick it up and it's still football. It's not too complicated, just go throw the ball."
Wentz is still in the process of learning the playbook and teammates' names, though the timing of signing with the Rams during the bye week helped give him a little bit of a head start with the latter.
From that humbling experience of his 10-month wait to return to an NFL locker room, he learned that he still wants to play, to compete and to be in that environment. He feels like he still has plenty to offer, and he's grateful he has another opportunity to show that, regardless of his role.
"Especially as I get older, I still feel like there's a lot to offer, whether I'm playing or not," Wentz said. "And so I just didn't feel like God had close that door, so I've been kind of just patiently waiting and staying ready and enjoying my time at the same time. So, yeah, it's definitely been humbling, challenging, I've wrestled with some things. But it's been fun at the same time, and I'm thankful for this opportunity."