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Carson Wentz is back at work, now as the Rams’ backup: ‘The NFL has a way of humbling everybody’

FILE - Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Landover, Md. The Los Angeles Rams are signing quarterback Carson Wentz, a person with knowledge of the deal tells 鶹ýapp. The source spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Nov. 7, because Wentz needed to pass a physical before the deal could be announced. (APPhoto/Patrick Semansky, File)

FILE - Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Landover, Md. The Los Angeles Rams are signing quarterback Carson Wentz, a person with knowledge of the deal tells 鶹ýapp. The source spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Nov. 7, because Wentz needed to pass a physical before the deal could be announced. (APPhoto/Patrick Semansky, File)

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LOS ANGELES (鶹ýapp) — Carson Wentz flew out to sign with the Los Angeles Rams during their bye week last Wednesday and then rushed back home to North Dakota. Several hours later, his wife went into labor and eventually gave birth to their third daughter last Friday.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Wentz said. “The whole offseason has been strange for me.”

The current week should be a whole lot less dramatic for Wentz, who returned to the West Coast last weekend to start his new job as Matthew Stafford’s backup. After being out of the NFL earlier this month, Wentz will be one snap away from playing when the Rams (3-6) host the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) on Sunday.

Wentz spent seven years almost exclusively as an NFL starter whenever healthy, so he is in an unfamiliar role in an unfamiliar place. He is cramming with Sean McVay’s playbook and scrambling to get prepared for the opportunity that could present itself soon with the Rams, given Stafford’s recent injury history.

“I will say the NFL has a way of humbling everybody,” Wentz said. “It’s a process, but at the same time, I’m no dummy. I’ve seen it all. I know how this league works, and I know how last year ended. Didn’t play good enough, and so I was aware of what it could be. We all desire to be the guy playing, don’t get me wrong. I think everyone would be lying to you if I said different, but we also know our business. It’s a hard league, and just to be on a team around the guys is a blessing regardless.”

Wentz spent last season with the Washington Commanders, beginning the year as their starter before breaking his finger and losing the job to Taylor Heinecke. Washington acquired him from Indianapolis, where he had spent one productive season after his five-year tenure in Philadelphia ended.

The Commanders released Wentz in February, and he went home and waited to figure out his next step. He kept working out, and he even spent time with former NFL coach Jon Gruden in late summer to stay ready.

“You learn a lot about what you value in life, the things that really matter,” Wentz said. “I love this game. I love playing it. It is by no means my everything, (but) I just learned I still want to play, still want to compete, still want to be around guys in the locker room. And especially as I get older, I still feel like there’s a lot to offer whether I’m playing or not.”

Wentz said he spent most Monday mornings this season evaluating the league with his agent and looking for the right spot to return. It didn’t present itself until Stafford injured his thumb last month, and Rams backup Brett Rypien struggled in his place.

Wentz decided he didn’t want to wait any longer to get back in the action, and he took the Rams’ backup job.

“When it made sense, I said, ‘Let’s do this thing,’” Wentz said. “I’ve been kind of craving to get back in the locker room, get back in a football environment. Never really knew what the situation would be like. All offseason, it was kind of weird just waiting and seeing the landscape and everything, but when I knew I had a chance to come here, it just felt right.”

Wentz is aware of the impact made by McVay on Baker Mayfield, who was released by Carolina last December with his up-and-down career in turmoil. Mayfield famously signed with the Rams — who needed a starter with Stafford out for the season — and beat the Raiders two days later to begin five straight starts to finish the season.

“Being in the league long enough now and kind of seeing the landscape, always had a lot of respect for coach McVay and how he’s done things from afar,” McVay said. “I felt like the pieces are in a good place here. And it’s the middle off the season. Time’s ticking at some point, too.”

Mayfield became Tampa Bay’s starter this season. Wentz isn’t looking that far ahead just yet, and both he and the Rams haven’t dismissed the possibility he’ll be here longer than this season.

But after the upheaval of his last few seasons and his lengthy stay at home in North Dakota this year, Wentz is just happy to be back in a helmet and preparing for Sundays.

“I don’t have to worry about next year,” Wentz said. “I don’t have to worry about the following years. I can just be where my feet are.”

NOTES: Starting CB Cobie Durant is questionable for Sunday due to the aftereffects of the stinger he incurred last month. Otherwise, the previous injured Rams are all returning: LB Ernest Jones, RT Rob Havenstein, NT Bobby Brown and Stafford are all expected to play against Seattle. ... McVay said Stafford has looked “really good” throwing the ball in practice. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback is expected to wear a brace on his injured thumb during the game.

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