According to our excellent Charlotte Observer Panther beat writer Joe Person, Cam Newton has been assigned No.1 for the team and Jimmy Clausen will remain with the No.2 he wore last year.
I'm guessing that's the way it will end up this season, too, as any number change would probably need to be immediate since the Panthers want to sell Newton's jersey. Newton, conversely, wants the No.2 he wore in college but doesn't want to make waves this early -- the last thing he wants to seem like is a prima donna to his new teammates.
I'll now repeat a lot of the blog I wrote about this in late April, when the issue first came up right after Carolina drafted Newton No.1. I still believe all of this:
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.