Panthers’ Sam Darnold on Zach Wilson benching: ‘It’s a crazy business’

Sam Darnold is a man who understands the business of the NFL and how fortunes can turn on a dime. 

The former third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft has not panned out the way many hoped, on his second team in his fifth year in the league and preparing to start his first game of the 2022 season on Sunday against the Denver Broncos

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, #14, warms up against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 20, 2022 in Baltimore.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Darnold was drafted by the New York Jets as the future of an organization that has been searching for a franchise quarterback for decades. He was traded after just three years in New York as the Jets moved on, drafting Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 draft. 

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Wilson was benched on Wednesday by head coach Robert Saleh after an atrocious performance against the New England Patriots on Sunday. 

Darnold understands how quickly things can change being a quarterback in the NFL. 

“I’m not really paying too much attention to what’s going on over there, but I did see (Wilson was benched). Obviously, it’s a crazy business — but we’re really focused on the task at hand, which is playing a really good Broncos team,” Darnold said Wednesday, according to The Charlotte Observer. 

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Sam Darnold, #14 of the Carolina Panthers, throws before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 20, 2022 in Baltimore.

Sam Darnold, #14 of the Carolina Panthers, throws before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 20, 2022 in Baltimore.
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images))

“Playing quarterback in the NFL is a tough job, but it’s the best,” Darnold added. “It’s the best job in the world, so to be able to come out and do that every single day, you don’t take it for granted, at all. Or, at least I don’t. But (benching) comes with the territory though. It’s a tough position, but at the end of the day, it’s fun. And for me, I’m living out my dream every single day.”

Wilson, who threw for just 77 yards in the loss to New England, was blasted in the media for not taking accountability for his play after the game. 

On Wednesday, Wilson apologized to his teammates for his postgame comments.

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“The way that I handled the situation wasn’t right. I gotta be a better football player, and then I gotta be a better leader to these guys,” Wilson said. “I have an opportunity to turn the page here as a player and as a leader to be able to take a step forward and be able to be here 100% for my guys and be able to handle the situation right.”

Zach Wilson, #2 of the New York Jets, scrambles against the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

Zach Wilson, #2 of the New York Jets, scrambles against the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

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“I’m just looking forward to the future and from this event how I can grow as a person, as a leader, as a teammate to be there for my guys and just handle things the right way. This is going to be a good opportunity, a humbling opportunity, for me to put my head down and work harder.”

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report

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