Less than three years after being taken No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Sam Darnold was traded by the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers. The NFL decided to give Darnold his shot at revenge immediately, with a Week 1 tilt against his former team.
But Darnold doesn't seem to have revenge on his mind at all. Speaking to the media recently, Darnold simply called it "a really good opportunity" for his new team.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity — a good opportunity for this team to go out and prove ourselves against a good opponent,” Darnold said, via Sports Illustrated. “For me as a competitor, I’m going to go out there and compete no matter who the opponent is, so that’s kind of my mindset on it.”
Darnold has never been one for trash-talking, no matter how badly he's been wronged in the NFL. So his answer shouldn't be much of a surprise.
But nobody's buying that he isn't looking forward to playing his former team.
Sam Darnold's tenure in New York was marred by front office chaos. In just three years in New York, the Jets fired two head coaches and a general manager, all the while going 13-35. Though all 13 of those wins came with Darnold under center.
Darnold now joins a Carolina Panthers team that is expected to make a big jump in 2021. The Jets, by contrast, are going through another rebuilding year with a rookie head coach, rookie quarterback and lots of new faces on the rest of the roster.
Darnold and the Panthers will undoubtedly be the favorites in this game.
Whether Sam Darnold admits it or not, balling out and beating the team that gave up on him will feel sweet.