CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Just when rookie Jimmy Clausen and the Carolina offense finally showed some spark, albeit in another loss, the Panthers were hit with more bad news as Clausen’s status for next week is uncertain because of a concussion.
The Panthers were seething Monday over the play that may have gotten Clausen hurt. They claim a couple of Tampa Bay players recklessly dove into the pile as Clausen was stuffed shy of the goal line on fourth down on Carolina’s final offensive play Sunday in the Buccaneers' 31-16 win.
Receiver Steve Smith said Aqib Talib and Sean Jones “went head first into Jimmy.” Replays showed Talib appeared to hit Clausen with a helmet-to-helmet hit. Smith then shoved Talib and was given a 15-yard penalty.
“Despite what people might think, actually I am a team player and I’ll do it again, and I’ll do it 10 out of 10 times, 100 out of 100 times,” Smith said of the penalty. “Guys going in there, he goes head first in there, so I’m going to follow.”
Coach John Fox declined to comment Monday for fear of being fined, but did say they would send in a tape of the play to the league office. Fox also said he wasn’t certain Clausen sustained the concussion on that play, but believed that’s when it happened.
“It was something that came on as the postgame wore on,” Fox said.
Behind Pike is another rookie, Armanti Edwards, who played quarterback at Appalachian State but was converted to receiver when he was drafted in the third round. He didn’t take snaps at QB for Carolina until last week when he ran the scout team.
The Panthers signed Brian St. Pierre, who has thrown five passes in his NFL career, to the practice squad on Friday.
Fox wouldn’t say if they’d try to sign another QB.
“We had Brian St. Pierre around last week, just to have a third quarterback in the building,” Fox said. “I think it was helpful as far as getting acclimated to our offense, but we’ll just assess that day to day.”
It’s been that kind of season for the Panthers, who are now tied for Buffalo for the worst record in the league.
Clausen’s injury spoiled his best performance in four starts, all losses. While the Panthers scored just one touchdown _ they have nine this season _ they moved the ball better. The second round pick from Notre Dame avoided major mistakes and looked more poised in the pocket.View Entire Story
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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