So far, the transition from the Big Apple to the Queen City has been rather seamless for new Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold. Of course, the moving side of it is a bit of a pain but as far as football goes, everything has been smooth to this point.
"The adjustment here to Charlotte has been amazing," Darnold said. "The people here are great, the food is great. All of my teammates and coaches have been awesome in terms of kind of showing me around the city and telling me where to go, where not to go as well."
Darnold told reporters that his teammates have helped him out suggesting areas he should look at to live and also grab a bite to eat every now and then. The one thing that they aren't able to help him with is to get his new apartment fully furnished. Right now, Sam is dealing with a fairly bare home with half of a sectional and has been sleeping on the floor.
"In terms of moving in, I've still got some furniture on the way. All the furniture stores are running low right now because of COVID. I also don't have a bed frame. My bed is still on the ground which is great and I have half a couch right now."
Despite the wait, Darnold says he's all focused on football right now and that the remainder of his furniture should arrive within the next two weeks. So he won't have to "rough it" for much longer. Although his new home is still a work in progress, his family and friends have already made the trip to Charlotte to visit him.
"My parents came out and they were able to come out to the Wells Fargo tournament with me which was awesome and check out the area where I'm living. A couple of my buddies came out last weekend so I've been having a couple of visitors here and there and obviously my teammates I've been hanging out with a lot outside of the field so it's been great. It's awesome to spend time in Charlotte and call this place home now. It's been amazing."
The Panthers kicked off OTAs earlier this week which so far, has been a lot of teaching and install than it is anything else. Right now, the main objective is for Darnold and the rest of the newcomers to learn the base playbook and terminology. Luckily for Sam, the Panthers use some of the same dialogue that he used during his time with the Jets which makes things a little easier for him.
"The transition has been great. I've just been trying to get a feel for the offense in terms of progressions and just seeing the field, and where I'm going to go with the ball in certain coverages. Really, the base install is down so I'm going to continue to work with it and continue to progress.
"We ran some similar stuff my rookie year actually in New York so there's a little bit of terminology there that I've recalled but there's definitely some new things as well. I'm just continuing to get used to it and continuing to learn."
Speaking of New York, this was also the first time Darnold was made available to the media since the release of the Panthers 2021 schedule, which opens up with his former team, the Jets. When asked about playing against the team that traded him away right off the bat, Darnold said he sees it just like any other game on the schedule.
"I think it's a really good opportunity - a good opportunity for this team to go out and prove ourselves against a good opponent. For me as a competitor, I'm going to go out there and compete no matter who the opponent is, so that's kind of my mindset on it."
The Panthers and Jets will kick off the 2021 season at Bank of America Stadium at 1 p.m. EST and will be televised on CBS.
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