Benkert, who is no stranger to this business, took the news well.
“Life man. I appreciate everything that came with being a Packer. Equally as excited to see what’s next, can’t wait to get to work,” Benkert wrote on Twitter shortly after NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero broke the news on Friday, June 17.
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Benkert Overall Happy With How Green Bay Handled Things
While Benkert was surprised about his release, he was overall happy with how general manager Brian Gutekunst handled it.
He took to Twitch to address fans, who were not so happy with Gutekunst’s decision to release the fan-favorite.
“They way he did it and went about it, mad respect for him, and for the window he cut me in, to give me an opportunity to go somewhere and compete for another job to make the 53, knowing there was no chance to make the 53 here…respect the f*ck out of that,” Benkert opened up to fans during a Twitch stream on Sunday.
At the end of the day, Benkert was appreciative that they didn’t waste his time.
“He could have kept me around for five weeks and then cut me as soon as I showed up for training camp, or kept me around for preseason, given me a quarter a game if that, and then cut me, Benkert said. “I’m just excited to see what’s next.”
With Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love and Danny Etling still on the roster, Benkert understands Green Bay’s decision to let him go ahead of training camp.
“No room to grow, in a sense,” Benkert said. “This gives me a chance.”
The Packers inked Benkert last offseason in May. He’ll now head back to his roots in Florida with his family and hopefully, get a new beginning elsewhere.
“I’m gonna miss Green Bay, not going to lie.”
Benkert’s Release by Atlanta Was Not as Pretty
Benkert split his collegiate career playing for East Carolina and the University of Virginia.
And then after going undrafted in 2018, he landed on Atlanta’s practice squad for his rookie year. He returned the following season but didn’t make it past the preseason after a toe injury put him on the IR. He came back to compete in 2020 but COVID-19 canceled the league’s preseason, so, once again, Benkert lost out on 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 Falcons’ general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Unlike his release in Green Bay, the Falcons didn’t let him down as easy:
“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.”
Benkert added that Julio Jones shot him a text 20 minutes after the news which read, “keep doing what you’re doing, when you get your chance, you’ll be fine.”
Wishing Benkert the best of luck as he continues his journey and who knows, maybe he’ll end up back where it all began.