The Great Jersey Debate is over.
Cam Newton came in to see Panther equipment guru Jackie Miles today and told him that he would stick with No.1, the jersey that Miles had temporarily assigned him. Miles said Newton had thought about it overnight -- he had a chance to switch the number to several other choices -- but kept it at No.1.
Jimmy Clausen will stay with No.2, the number Newton had coveted but apparently did not make much of an attempt to get. The two will compete for the starting quarterback job this season.
Newton wearing No.1 will be unusual for the Panthers, to say the least. Miles has been the team's head equipment guy -- and quite possibly the NFL's best at that job -- since the team started playing in 1995. He tells me that no Panther has EVER worn No.1 during the regular season (this in large part because Miles has never assigned it before).
"But we've also never used the No.1 overall pick on a player before," Miles said Wednesday. "That was my reasoning in giving it to him originally. Cam thought about it overnight and said he didn't want to make waves about changing numbers, that it wasn't a big deal to him and he would just keep it."
Expect the jersey to go on sale at various outlets very soon.
I said in today's column that Newton shouldn't try to get No.2 from Clausen and should make an impact with a different number than the one he wore in college, but I advocated him not taking the No.1 because of the additional pressure it would place on him. But hey, it was his decision.
Now the question will be how long it will take for that No.1 on the back of Cam's jersey to correspond to his position on the Panthers' depth chart. It certainly won't start out that way, but it may not be long.
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