The New York Jets veterans will not haze rookie teammate Sam Darnold, because they like him and they are not allowed to.
The New York Jets drafted Sam Darnold third overall, hoping that he will be the long-awaited savior at the quarterback position. He impressed during OTAs and minicamp, and he will hope to continue to do so while in training camp.
While the NFL has a history of rookies being hazed by veterans (the more common forms manifesting as the rookie buying dinner for the team or carrying the pads of a veteran during training camp) the team won’t do that to their potential week one starter.
TMZ interviewed cornerback Buster Skrine, who, when asked if the team had messed with Darnold at all, said that it’s not legal anymore. As preventing bullying has entered the national conversation in recent years, the NFL (along with other leagues) have taken measures to prevent hazing of younger players, specifically rookies.
Skrine also said that Darnold is a good guy and that the team doesn’t want to embarrass him too much. He did say the team might make him sing in the locker room, which is totally harmless and thus allowed by the league.
While Darnold is safe off the field, it could be a different story on the field. While fans would no doubt like to see Darnold on the field week one, he will have to beat Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown for the starting job.
Darnold will need to show Todd Bowles and company that the game doesn’t move too fast for him before they trust him to play. If he can accomplish that feat in preseason games, then he should have no problem claiming the starting job out of the gate.
The best way Darnold can thank his teammates for not hazing him is to go out and lead them to some victories.