Sam Darnold
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold—the season following a bout with mono—is taking every precaution in this new 2020 world.

Robby Sabo

Nobody will confuse Sam Darnold with Joe Namath this coming season. Perhaps that’s a good thing in today’s world.

“I think for me, in my situation, living in an apartment by myself, I was very eager to get things going,” is how Darnold responded to a COVID-19-related question on a Tuesday Zoom meeting with reporters.

“I’m just going to stay in my apartment and really just be traveling from there to here, inside the building. That’s gonna be it for me. It might be boring, but that’s what I kind of have to do at this point.”

Sorry, ladies; there will be no Darnold night-life Darnold sightings in 2020. Imagine that sentiment thrown at Namath in the 1960s?

And if you think he’s joking about his safety, guess again. Josh Bellamy’s Instagram account chronicled Darnold’s responsible mask-wearing on Tuesday.

Darnold, 23, enters a crucial third season as a pro. Perhaps no player’s status in this COVID-19 world is as interesting as the USC product’s thanks to his 2019 campaign.

Coming down with mono after the team’s Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Darnold missed three games. Although he returned with a bang against Dallas, the ghost game on Monday Night Football against the New England Patriots put his season on notice.

By most expert accounts, these New York Jets are not a win-now team. (Most of those “expect” accounts fail to realize how impactful a legitimate offensive line is, but I digress.) The loss of Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks didn’t help the narrative that Joe Douglas has a serious eye on 2020 success. Darnold is not concerning himself with any noise out of his control.

“I’m not going to worry about things I can’t control,” Darnold said after he was asked about the Adams trade. “I’m just going to worry about having a good training camp and making sure that I stay safe, making sure that I have negative tests going in, and focusing on what I can control and that’s having a great training camp and winning that Week 1 game against Buffalo.”

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Whether it’s Adams, the recent Woody Johnson allegations or the constant negative words written about his head coach, Adam Gase, the Jets kid quarterback makes sure his words add to the upward trend of the culture.

“He’s the right leader for the team, for sure,” Darnold said about his head coach. “Throughout the week, leading up to games, he does everything he possibly can to get us to win on Sundays.”

No. 14 isn’t No. 12. What “trying to get by” means to Joe Namath has a completely different meaning for the current Jets signal-caller. But in a world currently ravaged by fear and uncertainty, it’s the perfect personality to lead the charge for this organization.


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