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Stetson Bennett enjoying being back around football after spending rookie season back home addressing mental health

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett confirmed Tuesday that he spent last season back home in Georgia after going on the Reserve/NFI list. Bennett declined to get into the specifics of his time away from the team, saying he wanted to keep that "in-house," other than confirming that it was related to his mental health.

"Yeah, I'd say that," Bennett said, when a reporter asked if it would be "accurate to say that it fell under the umbrella of mental health."

Tuesday was Bennett's first time speaking with reporters since being placed on the Reserve/NFI list last September.

Bennett was slated to back up Matthew Stafford last season, seeing action in the preseason before returning home. The backup job went to Brett Rypien before the Rams moved on from him after their Week 9 loss to the Packers and signed Carson Wentz to fill the role.

Bennett said he expected to be back with the Rams this season, and expressed gratitude for being afforded that time away from the team.

"Thank goodness that (general manager) Les (Snead) and (head) coach (Sean) McVay and everybody involved allowed me to do that," Bennett said.

Although Bennett said he was "nervous the first day" back with the team during the offseason program, "it's gotten better each day."

"You hadn't played football in a while and hadn't talked to dudes in a huddle, right, which is a huge thing, and you're relaying the play to 'em," Bennett said. "A lot of nerves first day, but it's going, I wouldn't say seamlessly, but it's gotten better each day just like you try to make it."

Rams offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said "it's been a pleasure working with" Bennett since Bennett returned to the team.

"He's come to work every single day focused, with the intent of getting better, and that's all you can ask these guys," LaFleur said. "If their intent is right, which Stet's is right now, that's all you can ask, and it's definitely showing."

According to Bennett, that time away showed him how much he loved football and, for the first time in his life, a snapshot of what life would be like without it.

He also said with that time away, "you kind of come out here and you're hungry every single day," and it reaffirmed that he wanted to do this and continue to work hard and improve each day.

"I saw it for I think how I've always seen it," Bennett said. "Just a beautiful game, create relationships with your teammates, and then you go and you compete against the best and find out if you can, which I'm excited to get back to doing."

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