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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Newton wants Clausen's No. 2

By Edward Aschoff

Let the Carolina controversy begin.

Cam Newton isn't going to the Carolina Panthers to sit behind second-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen and he apparently isn't looking to wear any other number than the No. 2 he wore during his Heisman Trophy last season at Auburn.

Gotta love the drama.

Clausen and Newton played together at a charity kickball game Saturday and both were wearing No. 2 in the process.

First, before we get into jerseygate, according to The Charlotte Observer, Newton wasn't prepared for the kickball game and wore brown dress shoes and khakis. He then manned up and played third base in the second inning.

OK, I've played just about every position in baseball and third is not the position you want to play with improper gear.

But Newton being the stud athlete he is apparently cleanly fielded a short-hopper and got a force out at second.

And the legend continues ...

Anyway, Newton made it clear after the Panthers took him with the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft that he wants to wear No. 2, even though it currently belongs to Clausen -- the player who also (currently) owns the Panthers’ starting quarterback spot.

For now, both remain Clausen's, but it appears that if the price is right, he might be willing to part with his No. 2 jersey.

"It's mine right now," Clausen said. "We'll see what happens."

This has to be another uncomfortable situation for Clausen. He finished his rookie season with 1,558 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also threw nine interceptions, had a 58.4 quarterback rating and went 1-9 as a starter.

That rough first year has some in Carolina calling for a new man under center. Not much room for error with Panthers fans it seems.

Last Thursday, Clausen watched as the team that selected him with its first pick a year ago (it was a second-round selection) took a Heisman winner with the very first pick. Throw a game of kickball in where Newton not only impressed, despite his inadequate attire, but also informed the crowd between innings that he plans to win “a lot” of Super Bowls with the Panthers and you've got to feel for Clausen.

Fortunately for him, Newton is the one who will be receiving all the attention and all of the criticism. Maybe, Clausen can save himself from more awkward situations by just taking some of Newton's bonus cash and giving up that jersey.

Besides, shouldn’t Clausen be striving to be No. 1, anyway?