New England Patriots

Jul 25, 2019; Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots quarterback Danny Etling walks back to the sidelines during the 2019 season opening Training Camp at Gillette Stadium. (Ed Wolfstein-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Who knew that that the player who turned the most heads on day 1 of Patriots training camp would be the fourth-string quarterback?

Well, that’s because Danny Etling is not a quarterback anymore. He took the practice field in Foxborough wearing his usual No. 5, but with a white jersey as he joined the wide receivers instead.

Clearly, Etling doesn’t have a future with the Patriots (or perhaps in the NFL) as a signal-caller. But can he take the Julian Edelman route and reinvent himself as a receiver? It’s the only way that Etling will be able to stick around in New England. So he’s embracing the challenge.

“I’ve not really played [wide receiver], per se. But I’ve also coached a lot, being a quarterback, and I understand offensive football,” Etling told reporters on Thursday. “It’s helping me get a different perspective of the game itself and learning a lot of different things.”

Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Danny Etling (5) throws a pass as New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter (59) pursues during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Etling evaded the details when asked about his transition to receiver. It’s unclear when the team approached him about the change, or who’s been helping him along. (We like to think he’s picked Edelman’s brain.) He was still playing quarterback as recently as minicamp in June. But now, Jarrett Stidham is the new third-string QB and his reps on Thursday were predictably limited.

Ultimately, Etling is showing his Patriot-y tendencies. The second-year pro out of LSU is willing to take on whatever role the team is willing to try with him. And for a team that has 2-3 receiver spots to figure out between now and September, who knows? Maybe Etling shows enough to stay around as a wideout, if only on the practice squad.

“I love football, I love playing football. I’m out here in an NFL training camp, getting to play for the Patriots and getting to find a new role for myself and getting to get coached by some of the greatest coaches and getting to be a teammate of some of the greatest teammates of all time,” Etling said. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this team, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to continue to do that and keep becoming a better football player and just keep improving every day.”

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.