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NFL coaching legend just paid top rookie the ultimate compliment

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The man they call the “Big Tuna,” Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, believes one of his former teams has netted a keeper in the NFL draft.

Parcells paid the New York Jets’ top pick, and the No. 3 pick overall, USC quarterback Sam Darnold, the ultimate compliment.

“I really think he’s interested in winning,” Parcells told the New York Post’s Brian Costello on Sunday.

“I say this in a complimentary way, I don’t think he’s ready to be a star, if you know what I mean. Some of these guys come out of the draft and they’re ready to be a star. I think he’s ready to be a football player,” Parcells said.

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As Costello pointed out, when Parcells calls someone a “football player,” that means something.

“There is no higher compliment from Parcells than being called a football player. Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Curtis Martin and Vinny Testaverde were all football players,” Costello wrote.

After the Jets took Darnold with the third pick Thursday night, Parcells texted Jets coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant coach under Parcells when he coached in Dallas from 2003 to 2006, with a short but sweet message.

“You’ve got a great kid. Help him win,” Parcells texted Bowles, according to the Post.

Do you think Sam Darnold will be a great NFL quarterback?

In early March, according to the Post, Parcells met with Darnold and the Bills’ No. 7 overall pick, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, and came away impressed.

So did Darnold.

“I think the main thing was just, ‘Get back in the huddle,'” Darnold told the Post about what he took away from his meeting with Parcells.

“That was his phrase that he kept saying. ‘No matter what the score is on Sunday, no matter what happens on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, just get back in the huddle that next week.’ There was a lot of things I took away from Coach Parcells. I have like two pages of notes,” Darnold said.

That’s a message he’s told all of his quarterbacks, from the Giants’ Phil Simms to the Cowboys’ Tony Romo. It basically means pick yourself up, get back in the game and lead your team, no matter what.

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“Well, it really stems from you’re not really going to find out about what your capabilities are until you just got beat 31-10 and you threw a couple of interceptions and you were obviously the one that influenced the outcome of the game,” Parcells told the Post. “Now, it’s Wednesday, you’ve got to get back in the huddle and convince everybody you can lead that team. The essence of the message is no matter what’s going on, your job is to get back in there and lead the team.”

Parcells said Darnold has a lot going for him but needs a lot of work.

“He’s a big, strong kid. He’s got a good arm. But he’s like everyone. They need work. They need to be refined. They need to perfect their craft. So much of it is getting into the right situation with the right people providing the right environment for his development,” Parcells told Costello.

“It’s not just the head coach. It’s the whole organization. It’s everyone. You’ve got to help him succeed. You’ve got to help him win. That’s what he wants to do,” the coaching legend added.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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