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Panthers’ Baker Mayfield can ‘leave here with my held high’ as Sam Darnold set to start Sunday

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The Carolina Panthers will again make a quarterback change, announcing this week that Sam Darnold will start on 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 getting the start in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens.

PJ Walker started at QB in Weeks 6-10, going 2-3 before suffering an ankle injury. 

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

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“There’s a lot of things up in the air for the future here, so I don’t really know,’’ Mayfield said, according to ESPN. “I’m doing what I can, what I can control. I know how my teammates feel about me and how I’ve handled things here. So I can leave here with my held high and understand that I did everything I could.’’

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

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Against the Ravens, Mayfield threw for just 196 yards with no touchdowns, being picked off twice in the fourth quarter of the 13-3 loss. 

“It is a crazy year,’’ Mayfield said. “There’s a lot of strange things happening [at quarterback around the league]. . . . The quarterback room has pretty much handled it in the best way possible, rolling with the punches. We’re just doing what we’re told.’’

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Darnold missed the first 10 weeks of the season with an ankle sprain of his own after starting in 11 games last year. 

“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 biggest thing for me is playing consistent, and taking what they give me. I think that’ll kind of be the story of the day on Sunday, and I’m excited to go out there and do what I can to help this team win.”

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

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