FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Sam Darnold is sick and sidelined — likely for several weeks.
New York Jets coach Adam Gase announced Thursday the second-year quarterback has mononucleosis and will miss at least the team’s game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
Trevor Siemian will start in Darnold’s place, and could be the starter moving forward until Darnold recovers. The Jets have a game at New England in Week 3 before they have a bye-week break, and then games at Philadelphia, at home against Dallas and New England before a road game at Jacksonville on Oct. 27 to cap a rough opening stretch.
When a reporter pointed out that mono usually take several weeks from which to heal, Gase nodded.
“Oh, I’m aware,” Gase said. “Good thing we’ve got the early bye week.”
Darnold was sent home by the team Wednesday with what Gase said was “strep throat or something.” Team doctors later told Gase that antibiotics weren’t working as quickly as expected, leading to the diagnosis.
“He’s going through some of these tests to kind of see where he’s at with all this,” Gase said. “I know he’s out this week. Then, past that, I’ll have more information as we go.”
Gase said he, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and athletic trainer Dave Zuffelato went to Darnold’s home to deliver the news to the quarterback and he took it “not well,” according to the coach.
“He wasn’t real happy about it,” Gase said. “All three of us went over there and he knew something was up when Dowell and myself showed up. I just wanted to make sure it was delivered right, and I figured I could be the bearer of bad news on this one.”
The coach says Darnold’s biggest concern is weight loss. Gase adds Darnold has already lost about 5 pounds.
“That was something that was alarming to him, that he lost weight already in the last couple of days,” Gase said. “He can’t be in the building right now, so he’s like, ‘I need to get meals over here, I need to make sure that I’m getting enough of what I need to keep my weight.’ I mean, he went right into, all right, how do I maintain?”
Gase said Luke Falk will be promoted from the practice squad to serve as Siemian’s backup. The Jets could also look to sign an experienced quarterback for depth.