Sam Darnold chose not to throw at the Scouting Combine, waiting instead for the USC Pro Day. On Thursday, he threw again, at a second USC Pro Day workout.
Via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Darnold returned at the request of running back Ronald Jones, who was unable to participate in last month’s Pro Day due to a hamstring injury.
USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin praised Darnold for adjusting his travel arrangements and returning earlier than expected from a visit to the Browns.
“When you talk about what kind of guy he is, who does that when you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by doing that?” Martin told Ulrich. “He had a teammate call him out of the blue. It wasn’t something that was planned.
“He gets a call yesterday, and he drops everything else. [Darnold said], ‘Yes, I’ll be there for you, man,’ and gets on an airplane, lands in L.A. this morning, comes over at like 6:30 in the morning and throws for Ronald Jones. I mean, it’s crazy. And everyone’s like, ‘What, Sam?’ No one expected him to be here, and he’s here because he said, ‘Hey, man, my teammate called. He needed me.’ So he came. That’s unbelievable.”
Ulrich doesn’t mention how many passes Darnold threw to the running back (or how far down the field the balls when), and we’ve yet to see any explanation regarding why former Washington and Utah quarterback Troy Williams, not Darnold, threw to former USC receiver Deontay Burnett.
Darnold deserves credit for helping out a teammate, and maybe it truly was spontaneous and unplanned (you know, like Conor McGregor “unexpectedly” storming a press conference aimed at hyping a periodic MMA pay-per-view event that recently has lost plenty of sizzle). Still, someone in Darnold’s camp recognized the P.R. value of the gesture — and milked the hell out of it. Proving yet again the value of a good agent.