Sam Darnold Opens up About Jets Fans, Reveals Final Message to Management

Sam Darnold

Getty Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold on September 12, 2021.

A day after the one-year anniversary of the New York Jets’ trade of Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, Barstool Sports’ “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast dropped an exclusive interview with the ex-NYJ quarterback — and it was as close to a tell-all as Darnold’s ever provided.

Host Taylor Lewan — the former long-time left tackle for the Tennessee Titans — asked Darnold about everything from his rise at USC to “seeing ghosts” in New York, as well as his exit from the Jets organization and the current uncertainty in Carolina.

Quite frankly, it was a juicy interview and we’ll get into the Jets-related details below.

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Darnold to Jets: ‘I Think You Guys Are Making a Mistake’

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this behind-the-scenes look from Darnold was his exit conversation with general manager Joe Douglas but before that phone call occurred, the QB told Lewan that he thought the organization was leaning toward replacing him.

“They were just like — ‘hey, we gotta figure some stuff out’ — when I was leaving, this was an exit interview right after the season,” Darnold explained. “So they don’t know anything. They might know what they want to do but they don’t know exactly how they’re gonna do it. So they just tell me — ‘hey, we’re gonna look at people in the draft and free agents, and we’ll be in touch’ — so right when they said that I was like okay, it’s a wrap.”

When Lewan followed up and asked how that made Darnold feel, he stated: “I was just like — ‘I think you guys are making a mistake,’ obviously.” He added that “at the end of the day, that’s not my call.”

Darnold continued: “If they don’t think I’m the guy for them, then it is what it is.” He noted that he let his agent handle the speculation from there.

According to the quarterback, he did have offseason conversations with Mike LaFleur and late offensive assistant Greg Knapp before his eventual trade. The next time he spoke to Douglas was the final time, however.

“Joe called me, very respectful, just told me straight up what the deal was and I was like ‘alright, sounds good,'” voiced Darnold. The QB elaborated: “He was like — ‘hey, we appreciate everything you’ve done for the organization ever since you’ve gotten here but we’re gonna move in a different direction’… I knew like I said in the exit interview, I feel like these guys are leaning in a different direction. I always knew that deep down.”

Now being in a similar situation with the Panthers, Darnold admitted that the process can be a “shot to the ego.” He concluded: “Whatever happens, I’m prepared for it, at the end of the day someone’s got to answer for [losing].”

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Darnold Spills on ‘Ghosts,’ Jets Fans — the Good & the Bad

I teased it in the open so I have to touch on the “seeing ghosts” game against the New England Patriots, which Lewan questioned Darnold on right from the jump.

Coming from someone who was at that game with a couple of Pats fans, it was tough on everyone and Darnold even admitted it was the worst game of his entire life. “There were definitely some things where I could have done a lot more with the protection to help me out, but it was just — for lack of a better term — it was a cluster out on the field,” he began.

Darnold continued: “There [are] good ways to handle [a defense like that] and there [are] bad ways to handle it, and we didn’t handle it the best… We should have been more in and out of the huddle than we were that game, I think that was really the biggest issue… We didn’t have great answers for it.”

The Panthers signal-caller admitted that the “seeing ghosts” quote is “a tough thing to handle to this day,” but took full ownership of the remark being that he was the one that was mic’d up when the broadcast caught it. He laughed it off with Lewan: “It’s for sure on me, I’ll take that one to the grave.”

As for Jets fans, Darnold’s assessment was pretty fair but he did spill on the diehards that managed to get under his skin from time to time.

He detailed: “When I got drafted, great — I mean they’ll let you know when you f*** up but… they’re devotional fans… it was a great fanbase, loyal.” Darnold let it slip that he preferred when observers criticized him to his face, rather than on social media. When Lewan pressed him on that response for more information, the youngster gave in.

“The part that pisses me is off is when people judge my game, like how I’m playing,” he revealed. “Then I’m like — ‘hey bud, go strap it up… You’re a fan and I respect you being a fan. You can talk all the s*** you want, and I’m not going to do anything about it at the end of the day but take it easy.’ What if I was like — ‘the house you just worked on, piece of s***. You’re so bad at tiling. You should really go get another job. Really think about your profession.’ Sometimes you want to say stuff like that, but you can’t.”

To be fair, Lewan questioned whether the pressure that’s put on QBs is fair earlier in the interview and Darnold argued that it was, based on their salary and the fact that the ball is always in their hands. He made no excuses during this chat, nor did he blame or speak poorly of any ex-teammates or coaches.

“I know I’m a good quarterback,” Darnold stated boldly in closing. “I know I can be a good quarterback in this league, I’ve proved it. And I know there’s a team, if something happens, that would want me.”

Follow @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25 on Twitter for all the latest New York Jets breaking news, rumors, fresh takes and more!


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