Justin Casterline/Getty; Panthers/TikTok Sam Darnold and his new helmet
While Sam Darnold may excel on the football field, he needs a little practice in front of an easel.
Back in May, Darnold's NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, challenged him to draw several different things for a TikTok video. After nailing a sun and a bear, the quarterback took on the Panthers' logo: a snarling version of their big cat mascot, Sir Purr.
The resulting illustration — made with only a black marker — was pretty basic, though Darnold seemed triumphant.
Now, months later, the Panthers had a surprise for the 24-year-old athlete: they replaced the actual team logo with his drawing on the side of his helmet.
This is Darnold's first season with the Panthers. He spent 2018-2020 with the New York Jets, who drafted him third overall.
On Sunday, he started for the Panthers for the first time, helping them win 19-14 over his former team.
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Afterward, during a press conference, Darnold said that seeing the Jets "on the other side, that was a little different for me."
But focus on beating his former teammates was forgotten as the game went on, he explained, "We just, you know, tried to execute to the best of our ability and that was it."