Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has had a series of missteps since helping his team win a second consecutive national championship.
The one he has had to answer the most questions about from NFL teams this week is his Jan. 26 arrest in Dallas for public intoxication. According to an incident report released by police this week, Bennett “hid behind a wall” in a possible attempt to evade police.
Bennett, who was in Dallas for pre-combine training, spoke publicly about the arrest for the first time Friday.
“It was a mistake that everybody’s aware of,” Bennett said. “I understand why that can’t happen. I’ve talked to coaches about it, talked to GM’s. I’ve apologized to my family. That’s who I felt worse about; I felt like I let them down, because no matter where I go now [people are going to know about it]. Even without all this, I’ve got an obligation. I’m the fourth [Stetson Bennett]. You can’t do that if you’re last name is Bennett. I know better.”
Bennett had an opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl, and he would have been in Mobile, Alabama, at the time of his arrest, trying to prove his doubters wrong again. He has received criticism for skipping an opportunity to improve his draft stock, something Jalen Hurts took advantage of in 2020.
“I never. . . It was more so [skipping] the Shrine Bowl. It wasn’t really the Senior Bowl,” Bennett said. “I really wanted to play in it. There was a lot going on at the moment. Discussed with people that were close to me, asked advice. Decided that I needed to go train. I needed to get better. I do wish that I could have but just ultimately decided the other was the better choice.”
Bennett has done himself no favors with his words or his actions. The former walk-on’s stats do speak loudly as he went 29-3 in his college career, including 26-1 his last two seasons, and he passed for 8,429 yards with 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
He hasn’t endeared himself with anyone outside Georgia, however, and even some within the state have found reason to chastise him.
During the parade in January to celebrate the Bulldogs’ most recent national championship, Bennett was shown on his phone much of the time. That prompted Atlanta radio host Steak Shapiro to call out Bennett on Twitter, writing, the quarterback “needed someone to tell him to get off his damn phone during a parade and to show some graciousness and appreciation to the fans that were sitting in that stadium.”
The two had a back and forth that included Bennett saying, “Y’all kept telling us how bad we were. Screw it, we got two rings.”
“You know people are entitled to their opinion,” Bennett said Friday. “Yeah, I saw it as a parade for us who won, and I was playing music [for teammates] and trying to have a good time. People took it as I was. . . I don’t really know what people took it [as], but they didn’t like it. I’m sorry about that, but I strictly just saw it as a chance for me, Sed [Sedrick Van Pran] and Chris [Smith] one last trip down Lumpkin on the way to Sanford together, and I just wanted to play the best tunes we could at that moment.”
Bennett expressed confidence in his abilities, but he is projected as a late-round pick and a backup in the NFL, something he hasn’t done much of in his career.
“My job, my obligation is to the team that I’m drafted to, to be the best player for that [team], to learn to play football,” Bennett said. “At the end of the day, I’ve never been [one to make] waves or anything like that. 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, and I know there’s more to that probably here, but at the end of the day, that’s all you can control, and that’s what I will do.”