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Sam Darnold got the call from Todd Bowles ,
and then he made the proud phone call to home.

The 21-year-old rookie broke the news to his parents that he was named the
New York Jets' starting quarterback. And they didn't hold back their

"Mom was crying, as usual," Darnold said Tuesday with a big smile. "Then, my
Dad was just pumped for me. He just said, 'You know, you worked so hard and this
is what you worked so hard for.' So, it was a cool little moment there with them
and my sister. Yeah, it was fun."

Mike and Chris Darnold will be in Detroit on Monday night to watch their son
play against the Lions and make NFL history as the youngest quarterback to start
a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

There will be plenty of other eyes on the No. 3 overall draft pick. And,
Darnold is ready.

"We celebrate all wins," Darnold said while speaking to the media for the
first time since Bowles' announcement Monday .

"I know that just because I got named the starter doesn't mean we won the
game Monday night. It's awesome and I'm really happy to be the starting
quarterback, but I also know that I've got to go out there and do my job."

That's exactly what Darnold has been doing since he got here in the spring as
the potential face of the franchise.

The quarterback was impressive in his ability to pick up the offense. Both
Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates raved about his maturity and
ability to brush aside mistakes and not repeat them.

Those traits carried over into training camp, and Darnold beat out Josh
McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to earn the start in Week 1. Some thought it was a
foregone conclusion from the moment the Jets drafted the youngster, but he
consistently checked off all the boxes the Jets had for him.

"As a football player Youth
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, whether it's Pop Warner, whether it's
high school, college or now the NFL, your dream is to play the game," Darnold

"And that's what I want to do. I just want to go out there and play every
single day. If Josh did get the nod, I was going to be pumped for him and I was
going to be the best backup that I can be.

"Now that I know that I'm starting, it's an amazing feeling."

Darnold acknowledged that he might be a little nervous the first time he
takes the field at Ford Field, but isn't thinking about any of that right

It's all about preparing to face the Lions. And the fact that Bowles is
starting a rookie quarterback in a domed stadium doesn't concern the coach much,

After all, Darnold played his college home games for USC at the Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum 鈥?with a seating capacity of 93,607.

"I don't think it's very difficult," Bowles said. "He's been playing football
all his life. He's not just coming fresh out of the womb and just grabbing the
ball for the first time. He's been in crowds. He's seen crowds and he's been
playing football. I don't think it's that big of a deal.

"It's always going to be loud in a dome and Detroit is a tough place to play,
I get that Youth
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, but he just has to play football. He'll
be fine."

The Jets have thought that all along, and Darnold carries himself with a
quiet sense of cool.

He's confident in himself, but understands the task at hand 鈥?and takes
nothing for granted. That's why he's unfazed by being the only rookie
quarterback this year to start in Week 1 or being the youngest player 鈥?ever
鈥?to do so.

"I mean, yeah, it's cool," he said. "It's definitely something that I pride
myself on. First of all, I know that I haven't done anything yet. I haven't won
any games in the NFL.

"So, I've just got to go out there and do my job. Knowing that I am young
compared to a lot of the other starting quarterbacks, for me, I think that's
more of just affirmation of knowing that I've got a long way to go."

Darnold's progression has been rapid and steady, with the youngster
confirming to himself this summer with some solid performances that he was ready
for the NFL.

"I knew that once I went out there in the preseason games," he said, "and was
able to call the play in the huddle Jimmy Smith
, go out there and score a couple touchdowns, I knew that I
could play this game at a high level."

Darnold readily acknowledges the things he needs to work on 鈥?staying
consistent and not turning the ball over, to name a few 鈥?and will have to
continually prove himself. He also leans on some advice Bridgewater gave him
shortly after he joined the Jets.

"He was like, 'Bro, just be yourself,'" Darnold recalled. "No matter who you
are in this league, you want to win. Now that I'm named the starter, anyone,
whether it's a 15-year vet or a second-year guy, they want to help anyone as
much as they can if they're playing. ... When we start winning, everyone has
success in the locker room.

"I think that's the biggest thing, knowing that I just need to be myself and
if I do that, I don't really have anything else to worry about."

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has shown no signs of backing down from
his pledge to stay away from the team for a second straight offseason as long as
he doesn’t have a long-term contract and the lack of progress toward a deal
means it’s likely to be a while before he’s back with the club.

One of Bell’s teammates is suggesting a different course of action. Wide
receiver Antonio Brown spent a couple of years trying to get a long-term
deal Authentic Keke
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, but never held out while getting a couple of small
adjustments to his deal before landing a full extension last year.

“Well, the first rule of getting better is showing up,” Brown said, via the
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You can’t make anything better without
showing up. So I think if you show up, I think everyone will understand where
you want to be. That you wants to be here not just this year but for years to
come. Come out here and show up, show you want to get better and show guys
you’re serious.”

While Brown thinks that showing up could lead to the deal that Bell wants
with the Steelers, he’s not worried that the running back’s absence will hurt
him on the field. Bell finished third in rushing after reporting to work before
the first game of the season last year and Brown said he has not doubt his
teammate will be “physically ready” come September.

The running back and the Steelers have until July 16 to work out an
extension. If not, Bell will be set to make $14.5 million under the terms of his
second straight franchise tag.

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