INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett spoke with media members on Friday for the first time since his arrest for public intoxication in late January.
Bennett was contrite in his responses, acknowledging he cannot afford to make such a mistake, especially with his football future hanging in the balance this spring.
“It was a mistake that everybody’s aware of,” Bennett said at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “I understand why that can’t happen. I’ve talked to coaches about it, talked to GMs. Apologized to my family. That’s who I feel worst about. I felt like I let them down, because no matter where I go now — and even without all of this — I’ve got an obligation. I’m the fourth (Bennett named Stetson). Can’t do that if your last name is Bennett, and I know better.”
Bennett told reporters on Friday that he’s spent the week answering questions from teams regarding his arrest, which will naturally be included in each club’s scouting report.
“I just try to be honest,” Bennett said when asked how he approached such conversations. “I feel like I don’t put a lot of myself out there on purpose, so the stuff that people do get of me, they run with. They try to read into it instead of just seeing what it is. I try to be honest with them, just like I try to be honest with you guys every single time I’m up here. That’s what I’ll continue to do.”
Bennett is already facing an uphill battle. Listed at 5-foot-11, he’s been pegged as a probable backup in the NFL, due in part to his size. Winning pedigree aside — Bennett helped the Bulldogs win consecutive national championships in his final two seasons at Georgia — most general managers are seeking bigger signal-callers, and if they’re willing to sacrifice height, the quarterbacks in question must possess dynamic athletic ability.
Bennett doesn’t quite fit that mold. His decision to skip the Senior Bowl, and his arrest — which occurred on the same weekend during which players arrived in Mobile, Alabama, for Senior Bowl week — didn’t help as he attempts to make his case to prospective NFL clubs.
Ultimately, it will be up to Bennett to prove his worthiness to every team considering drafting him in April. From there, the work will begin, no matter the role he’s given.
“My obligation is to the team that I’m drafted to, to be the best player for that,” Bennett said. “To learn, to play football. … I keep my head down, I play ball. Whatever’s asked of me is asked of me. My job when I get there … you’ve got to be the best player to play. … At the end of the day, that’s all you can control.”