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Panthers’ Baker Mayfield can ‘walk away from here with his head held high’ as ​​Sam Darnold set to start on Sunday


The Carolina Panthers will make a quarterback change again, announcing this week that Sam Darnold will start Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Darnold will be the third different quarterback in as many weeks to start under center for the Panthers, after Baker Mayfield started in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, #14, warms up against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Baltimore.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

PJ Walker started at QB in Weeks 6-10, going 2-3 before injuring his ankle.

Mayfield, who beat Darnold in training camp after being acquired in an offseason trade to the Cleveland Browns, told reporters Wednesday that his future in Carolina is cloudy.

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“There’s a lot in the air for the future here, so I don’t really know,” Mayfield said. “I do what I can, what I can control. I know what my teammates think of me and how I handled things here. So I can walk out of here with my head held high and understand that I have did everything I could.

Mayfield started the first five games of the 2022 season for the Panthers, going 1-4 before suffering a sprained ankle which caused him to miss several games.

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Carolina Panthers #6 Baker Mayfield and Carolina Panthers #11 PJ Walker talk before their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium on November 10, 2022 in Charlotte, Carolina North.

Carolina Panthers #6 Baker Mayfield and Carolina Panthers #11 PJ Walker talk before their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium on November 10, 2022 in Charlotte, Carolina North.
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Against the Ravens, Mayfield threw for just 196 yards without a touchdown, getting pulled out twice in the fourth quarter of the 13-3 loss.

“It’s been a crazy year,” Mayfield said. “A lot of strange things are happening [at quarterback around the league]. . . . Quarterback Hall pretty much handled it in the best possible way, rolling with the punches. We just do what we’re told.”

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Darnold missed the first 10 weeks of the season with a sprained ankle after starting in 11 games last year.

Carolina Panthers #6 Baker Mayfield kicks the ball before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Baltimore.

Carolina Panthers #6 Baker Mayfield kicks the ball before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Baltimore.
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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“I’m just excited to play football,” Darnold said, according to The Charlotte Observer. “I’m excited to be able to go out there and play with the guys. The most important thing for me is to play consistently and take what they give me. I think that will kind of be the story of the Sunday, and I’m excited to go out there and do what I can to help this team win.”

It’s been a tumultuous season for the Panthers, who fired head coach Matt Rhule five games into the regular season.

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