When the Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton with the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, it was crystal clear that Jimmy Clausen, last year’s second-round pick, is not in the team’s plans as its long-term starter.
But Clausen doesn’t view Newton as a threat.
Clausen said on ESPN that he’s thinking of Newton as a teammate, not as a competitor for the starting job, and that he’s excited about playing with Newton and doing whatever he can to help Newton make the same college-to-NFL transition that Clausen made a year ago.
“It’s going to be a fun camp,” Clausen said. “We just got Cam Newton. I can’t wait to work with him during camp. I was just out there in Carolina with the team two weeks ago for a two-week period. It’s great working with Cam. He’s a great talent, he’s just going to help our team.”
The player-organized workouts have allowed Clausen and Newton to get to know each other, and Clausen says he likes what he sees.
“Working out together, going over the playbook together, he’s a great guy,” Clausen said. “I can’t wait to work with him and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
But one thing Clausen did make clear is that he still thinks he’ll wear the No. 2 on his jersey, as he did last year with the Panthers. Newton wore No. 2 last year at Auburn, and there’s been some speculation that Newton might get the number in Carolina as well.
“It’s my number right now,” Clausen said. “We’ll see what happens, but as of right now it’s my number.”
Unless Newton turns out to be a major disappointment, No. 2 will be more than just Clausen’s jersey number.