Panthers' Sam Darnold wanted to 'play 20 years and win Super Bowls' with Jets

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Sam Darnold had high hopes for his career in New York even when no one else did.

The Carolina Panthers’ newest signal-caller revealed during a press conference with reporters on Monday that he never thought he’d get traded even when it looked like the Jets might finish the season winless. 

PANTHERS WILL FIND ‘RIGHT PLACE’ FOR TEDDY BRIDGEWATER FOLLOWING SAM DARNOLD TRADE, GM SAYS

“Before the trade happened, I always thought I could make it work in New York,” he said. “Just being honest, I really did. My goals never changed even though there was speculation about me getting traded. I always believed that I could make it work and that we were going to get pieces and just be able to win some games in New York and go to the playoffs and eventually win the Super Bowl.”

It’s hard to fault such optimism but Darnold said he expected to spend his career playing in New York after the Jets drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018.

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“Obviously getting drafted as high as I did, my expectations were to go in there, play 20 years and win Super Bowls,” he said. “That was the dream going in there, but obviously it didn’t work out.” 

Darnold said the uncertainty in the offseason was “driving me insane” but after news of his trade broke, he went from being “unwanted to wanted.” 

“When I heard the news that they wanted to trade me, it was tough. Anytime you’re not wanted somewhere, that’s always a tough pill to swallow. But then it was the opposite feeling. You go from being unwanted and then all of a sudden, the people in Carolina wanted me and obviously traded for me. You go from being unwanted to wanted. … Things didn’t work out the way I wanted to in New York, but I was just so excited for a fresh start and a new opportunity. It was bittersweet.”

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Darnold will likely be the starter going into the season. While the team has not confirmed this, they have reportedly allowed Teddy Bridgewater to facilitate conversations with other teams. The Jets, in the meantime, are expected to draft former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall draft pick.

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