Sam Darnold has survived his early season mononucleosis diagnosis and come out on the other side. After missing three weeks, Darnold returned against the Cowboys last Sunday and delivered one of the best performances of his young career with the Jets.
Now, with New York preparing to face off against the Patriots in a primetime AFC East matchup on Monday night, Darnold is giving a little bit of a glimpse into what life was when he was sidelined with mono.
In an interview with ESPN's Lisa Saulters, the Jets quarterback said he initially believed the diagnosis was a joke when it was relayed by head coach Adam Gase.
"What happened was (Adam) Gase and Dowell (Loggains) came over and wanted to tell me themselves, but I was just at my apartment because they sent me home early for the day," Darnold said. "I thought I had strep (throat) and they just didn't want me around the guys.
"So I was in my apartment just hanging out and they called me and told me they had the gameplan for me and wanted me to take a look at it," the quarterback continued. "So I went downstairs to get it, and they both had really stoic looks on their faces. I felt like something was up. They told me I had mono and I immediately started laughing. I thought they were joking. And obviously it wasn't a joke."
Darnold, 22, certainly wasn't the only one to laugh at the idea of him being diagnosed with mono, which is generally known as "the kissing disease" that typically affects kids and young adults. The internet had a whole lot of fun at Darnold's expense, and he revealed that his teammates gave him a bit of a ribbing as well.
Heck, even the local newspapers had to take the low-hanging fruit.
But the diagnosis was no joke and neither were the risks that Darnold would have taken if he had tried to play through it. The enlarged spleen that comes with the mono would have made it extremely dangerous for Darnold to take his reps in the pocket, and that's why the Jets were forced to soldier on without him for three weeks, even though he says he only felt sick for three or four days.
Luckily, he's now officially a mono survivor and back to being the Jets' starting quarterback, which means we can finally get an update on this tremendous graphic from Monday Night Football earlier in the season.
Be sure to tune in, you won't want to
kiss miss it.