The big day finally arrived Dustin Pedroia Jersey , and Sam Darnold had the perfect plan for celebrating his 21st birthday.
"Playing football," the New York Jets rookie quarterback said with a huge grin.
The birthday boy is now officially of the legal drinking age, but Darnold wasn't expecting to toast the milestone Tuesday night.
"Probably not," he said, smiling. "I'll probably just stay in and go to sleep early, like I have been every single night."
Partying is not high on the list for Darnold, who's the youngest player on the Jets' roster 鈥?and the fresh-faced future of the franchise.
The No. 3 overall draft pick out of USC has taken a businesslike approach to his introduction to life in the NFL. Eat, sleep and dream football.
Those are Darnold's days. Every day.
"I'm making a ton of strides, but at the same time, I'm not exactly where I want to be," Darnold said. "But I know it's going to take time and it's a process. I'm aware of that and it's exciting, though, to understand the playbook the way I am and the strides I'm making. I'm really excited about where I'm going right now."
Darnold will compete with veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater this summer for the starting job, and he's giving Todd Bowles and his coaching staff plenty to consider early in this offseason.
The youngster looked predictably shaky in his first practice of organized team activities two weeks ago Baker Mayfield Jersey Elite , but has appeared increasingly more poised in the sessions open to the media since.
"He's just more comfortable with the playbook and obviously seeing things a couple of times will make you more comfortable," Bowles said. "He's just hard-working. Everything we thought coming in. He's going to work every day, wants to be good, understands the mistakes he makes, works at them night and day, and watches film and asks questions.
"At this time of year, that's what you're supposed to be doing."
#Jets birthday boy Sam Darnold turns 21, feels he鈥檚 making 鈥渁 ton of strides鈥?but knows he鈥檚 got plenty of work to do. s://t.co/XPUJv3HYja pic.qgQAZKp2Kt
鈥?Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) June 6, 2018
During Tuesday's practice, Darnold tossed a badly underthrown pass that safety Jamal Adams, last year's first-rounder, easily intercepted.
For a guy who was celebrating his birthday, it was certainly a gift 鈥?but for the defense.
"Yeah, I just made a bad read on it Mark Walton Jersey ," Darnold said. "I should've just dumped it down to the back, but I tried to force one in there."
"He retains things when you tell him," Bowles said. "He makes mistakes, but doesn't make the same one twice, so he's very good from that standpoint as far as retaining information."
Late in practice, though, Darnold had perhaps his prettiest play as a pro. He zipped a deep pass down the sideline that dropped over the reach of safety Kacy Rodgers II and right into Chad Hansen's hands. It was a terrific throw and a reminder of why so many labeled Darnold as "special" in the months leading up to the draft.
But such is the up-and-down life of a rookie quarterback that Darnold overthrew his final pass of practice on a deep toss to a wide-open Jordan Leggett. There's no doubt Darnold would be spending part of his birthday night breaking that down in the film room.
Darnold's development has included lots of rewinding and fast-forwarding through plays, and dissecting every move. He's got that type of time now, because football is the only thing that matters these days.
"I don't have class, so I'm spending every single day in the film room or on the practice field," he said. "So in regards to that, just being able to spend time watching football and playing football is awesome. To be able to come in here every single day and do it for a living, that's pretty sweet."
Darnold also recognizes the value of working with McCown and Bridgewater on and off the field.
"What makes it really cool is that they're really good players," Darnold said. "They've experienced ball and they understand what's going on on the field all the time Denzel Ward Jersey Youth , at all times. It's amazing to be able to learn from them. After that play with Jamal, to be able to talk about it with them is something that is really cool, to be able to do that right after the play and get that feedback."
Darnold has had to make several adjustments since coming to the Jets, including calling plays in the huddle 鈥?something he hadn't done much of at USC. He also says the increased pace of the game is evident, even in practice.
"It's faster, which is what I thought it would be, so it's been awesome," he said. "It's just been a learning experience, just learning every single day and getting used to it has been awesome."
Darnold says "awesome" a lot and sounds like a kid who's happy to be doing what he loves.
"You know, no, I don't feel any different," a smiling Darnold said of his milestone birthday. "It's cool to be 21, but at the same time, I'm just coming here every single day ready for practice. Nothing's changing for me."
Jarvis Landry is now under contract with the Miami Dolphins Don Larsen Jersey , easing the path to a potential trade.
The three-time Pro Bowl receiver signed his $16 million, one-year franchise tag Thursday, a person familiar with the situation said. The person confirmed the signing to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins hadn’t announced it.
The Dolphins have been shopping Landry, and the procedural move allows them to trade him as early as next Wednesday, when the NFL’s new year begins.
Miami gave Landry the franchise tag last month. He made $894,000 last season, when he led the NFL with 112 catches.
Landry has said he wanted to remain with the Dolphins, and they said they wanted him back. But the parties have been unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, and Landry’s volatile personality has become a cause for concern in Miami.
The franchise tag allows Landry to sign an offer sheet with another team. The Dolphins could match that offer, and if Landry leaves, they would receive two first-round picks from his new team.
More likely is another team working out a contract extension with Landry and then trading for him.
He has been selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls and has 400 career receptions, a record for a fourth-year player.