And now with the 2021 season in the rearview mirror, Green Bays’ first order of business is signing practice squad players to future/reserve contracts.
The first player they locked in was quarterback Kurt Benkert.
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Benkert’s Preseason Went Viral
Benkert spent the entire 2021 season on the practice squad learning behind Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love.
He was elevated in Week 14 against the Bears, where he played just two snaps and took a knee to top off the 45-30 win over Chicago.
But before the 2021 season kicked off, Benkert had an impressive preseason game against the New York Jets
With Jordan Love sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Benkert played the entire game and went 18-of-25 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 23-14 loss to the Jets.
He made several plays but he really stole the spotlight with an incredible sideline pass to receiver Malik Taylor that went viral on Twitter.
He finished the preseason completing 69 percent of his 48 pass attempts for 300 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Benkert Opened Up About Getting Released by Atlanta
Benkert split his collegiate career playing for East Carolina and the University of Virginia.
After going undrafted in 2018, he landed on the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad for his rookie year but was soon injured, which put him on the IR. He came back ready to compete in 2020 but COVID-19 canceled the league’s preseason, so he didn’t get a chance to showcase his talents.
Still, he really thought he had a shot to make the team’s final roster following an outstanding offseason at camp and all of the hard work he had put in, but that ended up not being the case.
In an interview ahead of the 2021 season with Tyler Dunne of Go Long, Benkert opened up about his struggles in the NFL, specifically his time under Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn.
“I’ve worked my ass off. When it comes down to it, I work really hard in football and give it everything I have and am always prepared. I think last year with Covid really opened my eyes. I had the best camp I could possibly have. I was balling. Making plays. I was like, ‘There’s no way in hell they cut me and put me on the practice squad.’ I was like, ‘I can’t be cut. There’s no way.’ And I go into the meeting with the GM and he’s like, ‘You did everything we asked you to do. You could not have played better. We’re lucky we don’t have a preseason because we can hide you and stash you on the practice squad.’ I was like, ‘S—. OK.’ That’s the reality of the business. That was a tough pill to swallow but, at the same time, it gave me so much freedom and took such a weight off my shoulders, that I can control everything I can and they still can’t keep me on the team. That’s just part of being an undrafted guy. Until you step a foot on the field in the game, and people have to see it, they’re not worried about somebody stealing you.”
Once Benkert was waived by the Falcons in February of 2021, it didn’t take long for the Packers to pick him up. And it looks like they don’t want anyone “stealing” him if signing him was their first move in the offseason.
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