Say what you want about Jimmy Clausen's deficiencies -- and we all have done that -- but politeness isn't one of them. I thought it was classy of Clausen to welcome Newton both in private conversations and publicly via Twitter. His Twitter message: "Congrats to Cam Newton. Welcome to the Panthers."
While Clausen can’t be happy about the situation, Clausen is determined to be a good teammate. Now whether that goes as far as giving up the No.2 jersey that Clausen holds and has rights to as a veteran but Newton wants (Newton said as much in Charlotte Friday, hoping he could get his college number in the NFL).
If I were Clausen, I probably wouldn’t let Newton have it without some compensation.
I wouldn’t give No.2 away, for sure. That seems a bit emasculating to me, given that the two will be involved in a head-to-head competition for the starting job. I might sell it to Newton, though (and then give the money to charity, an idea first suggested to me by my quick-witted colleague David Scott).
In that case, Newton would get what he wants, Clausen could save some face and a worthwhile charity could benefit with a check for what should at least cost a few thousand dollars. A win-win for everyone.
In other news, the Panthers drafted two defensive tackles you probably have never heard of unless you are a real draft junkie with their third-round picks Friday night. But South Florida's Terrell McClain and Stanford's Sione Fua fulfill a major need for an interior D-line that got pushed around too often in 2010. That was a major need for Carolina, so Friday was very much a "smashmouth" day for the Panthers after the splashy first day with the Cam Newton pick.
While McClain is a bit more athletic than Fua, who is mostly a run-stuffer, both are "space-eaters," said Panther coach Ron Rivera. He had a little hint of glee in his voice when he said it, too.