“I’m the old guy in the room with Steve (Smith) being out,” the 25-year-old Clowney said Wednesday, laughing.
Upset at being cut twice in a month by the New York Jets, the speedy Clowney is embracing his new, expanded role with a winless team in desperate need of a solid receiver. Smith was on crutches Wednesday because of a sprained ankle and the Panthers released Dwayne Jarrett after he was arrested Tuesday.
“Maybe being here, I can actually get an opportunity to run different routes and get involved as a full, complete receiver,” Clowney said.
The Virginia Tech product was claimed Tuesday to replace Jarrett, cut the same day he was charged with driving while impaired. It came after Clowney was let go by the Jets on Monday, a move he said was unexpected because he thought he was safe when he re-signed after Week 1.
“They told me I was,” Clowney said.
Clowney, first let go in final cuts before the start of the regular season, said he was told he’d be used as a receiver, but spent most of his time on special teams. Playing behind Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery and with Santonio Holmes coming back from suspension, the Jets had no room for him.
“I think sometimes when you’re with a certain organization, they put a stamp on you, regardless whether it’s good or bad, you have that stamp and they put you in that role,” Clowney said. “Being with the Jets, my stamp was I’m only a deep threat guy.”
The Panthers (0-4) are looking for anybody to become a target for rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. With Smith expected to miss at least one game, the Panthers are left with Clowney and three rookie receivers.
Clowney, who had one catch for 22 yards this season, has just 16 catches in his four-year career. Wearing No. 87, Muhsin Muhammad’s number last season, Clowney said he was taking some snaps with the first unit on Wednesday.
“Hopefully, I get a chance to start this week,” Clowney said. “If I don’t, I’ll be in there going in wherever the coaches need me, whenever they call my number.”