Monday, June 25, 2012
Interesting number games in the Carolina Panthers organization these days among the quarterbacks -- at least I sorta think it's interesting.
Jimmy Clausen has switched from No.2 to No.7 for this season. Cam Newton was offered to move from No.1 to No.2 -- Cam wore No.2 at Auburn, and he came into Carolina as a rookie hoping he could be No.2 as well.
But now Cam is used to No.1, so I hear he told the Panthers thanks but no thanks -- he'd stay with his number and not make the switch he wanted 12 months ago. With No.2 still vacant, new Panther punter Nick Harris jumped on it, so that's where we sit today -- Newton at 1, Harris at 2 and Clausen at 7.
That's good news, I suppose, for the thousands who have bought a Cam Newton jersey and don't want it to be obsolete all of a sudden.
Clausen's switch, though, is a bit unusual given he has already been in the league a couple of years now. He had the right to keep the number last year and did so. I thought at the time and wrote then that he shouldn't simply give it away -- that the best scenario would be for Clausen to "sell" the number to Newton, as has happened in a number of other organizations in the past, and then donate the money to charity. A win-win for everyone.
But Clausen kept it. So Newton became No.1. Before long, he had beaten out Clausen for the No.1 job, too. And now Clausen doesn't want it anymore (he wore No.7 in college at Notre Dame, and it was available when the Panthers released longtime punter Jason Baker).
The numbers are final for this season now -- there won't be any more switching, at least not among higher-profile players, as the Panthers have turned in their roster to the NFL.
As for Newton, I think he did the right thing here. He has already forged a heckuva new NFL pro identity with No.1, which also represents his draft choice from 2011.