Jimmy Clausen vs. Cam Newton: Unneeded Drama Surrounding Carolina's No. 2 Jersey

Benedict E. CarterContributor IIMay 5, 2011

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 03:  Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

What's in a number? On the surface, the squabbling over the rights to hold the No. 2 jersey for the Panthers for this season seems a little childish. It is, technically, just a number. But to some people it represents something much more.

With the drafting of Cam Newton, Carolina brings in a quarterback who, in time, will prove his worth to the team. As of right now, he wants the No. 2 jersey that rests on the back of one Jimmy Clausen. Obviously, Cam also wants Clausen's spot on the depth chart and to most people, the choice in number and starting gig for the Panthers is just too poetic to not have an opinion about.

There are arguments for both sides—one being that Cam has to earn the number and the starting spot, and prove himself worthy of both. The other is Cam Newton will sell more jerseys with 'his' number on the back than he would with a different one, valid points for both sides, and there is more to it than just shirt sales and the metaphorical 'passing of the torch.'

One thing is for sure, though, if anything means anything in this apparently needless fuss is if Carolina grants Newton 'his' jersey, then they have symbolically given up on Jimmy Clausen for the following season. If they had any confidence in him whatsoever, he would remain as he was with the No. 2.

Of course, these are both competitive men who want to change the fortunes of the Carolina Panthers, and what goes with number is the right to say that they have made a difference to the team. Jimmy, in fact, has shown himself to be rather humble in light of potentially losing his job.

Rarely in life would you see a new employee greeted by his predecessor with the words "Welcome" in such good faith, not to mention in the public domain, it would appear that Jimmy is taking the professional road to his career and that is something which was heavily debatable when he came into the league.

But if we take a collective step back, remind ourselves that there are bigger issues for the team, like the lockout which could blow everything out of the water, this is a minor distraction ahead of a very difficult season for the Carolina Panthers.