Former USC quarterback Sam Darnold, now with the New York Jets, must remember a time when players on different teams sought to maintain a healthy competitive environment off the field too.
Last month, Darnold, along with a host of other NFL players, was asked if he could be filmed wishing New England quarterback Tom Brady a happy birthday. Darnold is the only one who said no.
He talked about it this week with Yahoo Sports and said, “I’m going to get every competitive edge I can, because he’s going to do the same thing. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s exactly where I want to be when I’m his age. To chase that, I can’t be giving him anything.” He said the happy birthday would have been giving Brady something “for sure.”
“If I see him after a game, I’ll tell him good game and all that stuff. But I don’t want to give him anything. Especially to him. No.”
Darnold went on to say it’s nothing personal, he has no beef with Brady. It’s just that they are in competition with each other.
Jets coach Adam Gase was, and is, impressed.
“He has a different way about him,” Gase told Yahoo. “He’s just like an old-school NFL quarterback. You respect him. He never blames anybody else. He holds himself to a higher standard than anyone else. He holds himself accountable. And the way he can approach guys — if something is not right, he has a way of getting the attention of guys and he has a way of commanding the huddle. … It’s hard to put it into words. He has an ‘it’ factor to him. It’s been fun for me to be around to witness a 22-year-old that has that kind of way about him.”
Speaking of Gase ...
It seems it must take a lot to impress the Jets coach, especially in light of this story about him in a profile on the Athletic website:
Apparently, when Gase was offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, he met with quarterback Peyton Manning every Tuesday at 2 p.m. One Tuesday in 2013, Gase’s wife, Jennifer, went into labor and had a caesarean section scheduled for 10 a.m.
“So they pulled the baby out of me and said, ‘It’s a boy,’ ” Jennifer said. “They didn’t even put my organs back and sew me up before he’s like, ‘You good?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ He said, ‘All right then, I’m out.’ They said, ‘You want to cut the umbilical cord?’ He said, ‘No, I’m good.’ ”
Wow. Let’s hope Darnold doesn’t want a meeting with his coach during a birthday party for Gase’s son.
Your favorite sports moment
What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Here’s the next one in our occasional series. Email me your favorite sports moment (email@example.com) and it might run in a future Morning Briefing and Sports Report newsletter.
Today’s moment comes from Norm Levine of Santa Monica:
“I’m 86 years old and have had many, but the one which comes to mind for its strangeness happened about 20 years ago in Tangier, Morocco.
“My wife and I were led by a tour guide into the Casbah, which was a tangled web of tents with merchants hawking their wares. We found ourselves with a high-pressure seller of rugs and jewelry. After 10 minutes of his pitch, it was obvious we were not the least bit interested. He then took me aside and in an altogether different voice said, ‘So what do you think of Kobe and Shaq?’
“I was stunned but happily engaged him in an enthusiastic conversation about the Lakers. We were no longer buyer and seller of rugs but just two guys talking as if at some sports bar in L.A. We had found a universal language.”
Which team has the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball?
Is it Houston, with Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole; Washington with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin; the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler or some other team? Log your vote online, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Results will be revealed next week.