NFC South: Jake Dlhomme

Apparently, fans of the Carolina Panthers are a very forgiving bunch.

They once booed quarterback Jake Delhomme out of town after he suddenly turned into an interception machine. But, after a season in purgatory (also known as Cleveland), Delhomme would be very welcome back in Charlotte.

That’s according to our Call It poll. We asked readers to vote on if the Panthers should bring back Delhomme, if he is released by the Browns, which is widely expected. Nearly 4,000 votes were cast and 58 percent said the Panthers should bring back Delhomme if he’s available.

Of course, let’s make the context very clear: Fans are not looking for Delhomme to come back and be the long-term starter that he was in his first Carolina tenure. The Panthers just drafted Cam Newton and they drafted Jimmy Clausen last year.

Coach Ron Rivera has implied the Panthers could be looking for a veteran to serve as a mentor to Newton and Clausen. I’m siding with Carolina fans on this one. I think Delhomme could be an excellent fit in a mentor/backup role.

There was a time when I would have said Delhomme couldn’t handle that situation. He’s an extremely competitive guy and would not have flourished in a situation where the team doesn’t want him to be the starter at some points earlier in his career. But I think Delhomme has reached a point where he’d be willing to accept a backup role. If he’s willing to embrace that and share his wealth of knowledge with Newton and Clausen, Delhomme could be an excellent fit back in Carolina.

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