Sam Darnold to wear specialized pads vs. Cowboys

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Sam Darnold will take the field Sunday in his return from mononucleosis with some extra protection.

The New York Jets' quarterback will wear customized pads in Sunday's tilt versus the Dallas Cowboys.

One side effect of mono is the potential enlargement of the spleen. The spleen issue is what held Darnold out last week when the Gang Green brass hoped he'd be able to return. With the second-year signal-caller cleared to play this week, the QB wants to ensure he's as protected as can be facing Demarcus Lawrence & Co. Sunday.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on Friday's edition of NFL NOW that the same company that previously made specialized pads for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton used that model to develop padding to help protect Darnold's spleen. Darnold has said he will don customized padding to protect his midsection for the remainder of the season.

"Standard shoulder pads really don't provide that type of protection," Pelissero noted. "Darnold went through multiple fittings. He's got something that he's comfortable with as he gets back on the field."

Newton wore a flak-jacket back in 2015 after suffering a preseason rib injury.

The issue for Darnold isn't the ribs like we've seen from other quarterbacks -- Tony Romo also comes to mind -- but rather a spleen that was enlarged due to mono.

The Jets are comfortable putting Darnold in harm's way behind an offensive line that has struggled regardless of who has been under center this season. But not without protection.

"We should be good," coach Adam Gase said Thursday, via the New York Daily News. "We should not have him dying on the field."

The pads specially designed for Darnold should help ensure Gase's quip doesn't backfire.

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