CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jimmy Clausen’s days as a quarterback for the Carolina Panthers came to an unsurprising end Saturday morning.
The Panthers waived/injured Clausen, the biggest name among the 22 players who were either cut or waived/inured by Carolina as it trimmed its roster from 75 to 53 on Saturday.
“Just want to thank the Panthers Organization and the city of Charlotte for drafting me and making this home for me the last 3 years!,” Clausen tweeted Saturday morning.
Clausen, who leading up to Saturday was expected to be released, was designated as waived/injured because of a shoulder injury he suffered Thursday night against Pittsburgh, and teams cannot outright cut a player who is injured.
Clausen, a 2010 second-round draft pick, had a good training camp but could never overtake former Pro Bowler Derek Anderson for the job of primary backup to Cam Newton. Should he go through waivers unclaimed, Clausen will revert to the team’s injured reserve Monday and could stay there until an injury settlement is reached.
Clausen went 14 for 25 for 119 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in four preseason games. He mostly played with the third-team offense in exhibitions, and Thursday night after the Panthers’ 25-10 win against Pittsburgh, coach Ron Rivera said he would have liked to see more from Clausen with a better supporting cast.
“The unfortunate thing for Jimmy is, he’s working in with the third and fourth guys and that’s always tough, so you have to take that with a grain of salt,” Rivera said. “You wish you could present him with some better opportunities as far as the guys on the field with him.”
Clausen has been inactive for every regular season game since his 2010 rookie year. He started 10 games that season and went 1-9. He had a 52.2 completion percentage, three touchdowns, nine interceptions, nine fumbles and 33 sacks.
But Clausen wasn’t the only well-known player to learn his fate in Charlotte Saturday. Wide receiver David Gettis was waived/injured and veteran cornerback Drayton Florence was released.
Gettis has suffered leg-related injuries – an ACL tear in 2011, a hamstring injury in 2012 – each year since his 2010 rookie season that saw him catch 37 balls for 508 yards. He injured his hamstring before Thursday’s game, and he would also revert to the IR should no one claim him Sunday.
His recent injury history, combined with the preseason emergence of Ted Ginn Jr. and fellow wide receiver Domenik Hixon getting healthy all likely played a role in that decision.
The release of Florence was not as expected. Florence, an 11-year veteran, came to Carolina as a free agent in March, and it took less than a week into training camp before he began running with the first team.
But Florence didn’t have a great preseason. He returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown, but that highlight came one week after he was on the wrong side of a SportsCenter top play when Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy’s juke move left Florence with a knee on the ground and McCoy 21 yards down the field.
The Panthers also liked what they saw from young cornerbacks like undrafted rookie Melvin White, third-year player Josh Thomas and second-year player Josh Norman, who led the NFL with four preseason interceptions.
“It will be tough because a lot of guys came in and did a lot of nice things for us,” Rivera said of cuts on Thursday. “I think the thing that really showed is we have some good young backups. We have an opportunity to see those guys play today and they played very well against a very tough, physical Pittsburgh Steelers team so anytime your backups play a team like this with quality backups, it shows we’ve gotten better.”
Defensive tackle and third-round pick from 2011 Sione Fua was also released. The Panthers decided to keep four defensive tackles and five defensive ends after the strong preseason play by undrafted rookie Wes Horton.