March 13th. That's the day of reckoning for Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen. In less than two weeks, the Panthers will have to decide whether to either release Clausen or keep him on the roster and pay him a $923,000 bonus. The former Carolina starter didn't suit up for a single game last year, mind you.
So, the decision should be a no brainer. Right?
That was the general consensus was until earlier this week when head coach Ron Rivera left the door open for a potential return to the team for Clausen in 2012. Rivera admired Clausen's class in handling his demotion from starter in 2010 to inactive third-string quarterback in 2011.
"Everybody's got to compete. That's just the way it is," Rivera said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. "Jimmy knows our philosophy and how we are. For what we did last year and what we asked of Jimmy, I thought he handled the situation very well. He's most certainly a guy that's in the mix in terms of coming back next year and competing."
Clausen was abruptly forced into starting duty during the 2010 season when then-starter Matt Moore was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. Clausen finished 1-9 as a starter, albeit with very little weapons surrounding him, and lost much of his credibility as an NFL-caliber quarterback.
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