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Jimmy Clausen’s first interview as a Panther

I am really starting to like this kid.

Here is Clausen’s interview with the Panthers’ media.

And for those who don’t want to listen to it, here’s the transcript1:

Clausen’s opening statement: I’m so excited to be a part of the Panthers organization. I just want to tell you you just made the best pick in the draft and I’m going to make you guys proud.

What has it been like going through this process?

It’s been a dream come true. Obviously, I wanted to get picked as high as I could, but at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t be happier than to be a part of the Panthers’ organization. I can’t wait to get there on Thursday and just get right to it and start getting to work.

Are you surprised you fell to No. 48?

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to go anywhere, whether it was the top 10, first round, second round, third round. I just wanted to get my name called. My agent had been talking to a lot of people.

Have you talked to John Fox?

Oh, I definitely did. He called me. He was just really excited and he told me they were trying to get up to the 33rd pick, but it didn’t work out. He was just really excited to have me on the team. I told him I can’t wait to get there and start going to work and help the team and the organization, do whatever I can to help the team win.

What do you know about the quarterback situation with the Panthers?

I’ve watched Matt Moore. I know a lot about Matt Moore. He played at Hart High School in California. He played in the same division as my older brother. I know a lot about him. He’s a great quarterback and I just can’t wait to get there and meet him and start going to work with him.

Can you talk about your goals?

My goal is to get the playbook as soon as I can, as soon as the coaches allow me to get it, learn that as fast as I can. My goal, you know how I’m going to take this, is try to be the starter from day one. That’s going to be my mentality, be the starter from Day 1. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m going to do it the best of my ability and at the end of the day, if I’m good enough to play, I’m going to play. But if not, I want to do everything I can to help the team win.

How much do you think running a pro-style offense at Notre Dame will help you?

I think it’s going to help me tremendously being in Coach Weis’ system. Coach Fox told me it’s the same exact system I’ve played in the past three years at Notre Dame. So, I’m really excited about that. I’m just going to hit the ground running and try to do everything I can to help the organization and the team win.

Was it hard sleeping last night?

Not really. After the first round was over, me and my family sat around and watched TV, had some food to eat, just went to bed, woke up this morning. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I could do rather than sit back with my family and wait to get your opportunity. I couldn’t have ended up at a better spot and I’m really excited right now.

Do you feel pressure, or are you excited? Marty Hurney was visibly excited …

Oh, I’m so excited. Obviously, I wanted to go earlier, as early as I could. But at the end of the day, I’m in a great situation at Carolina. I keep saying it over and over, but I can’t wait to get there and get starting to work.

You took flack for your interview with Jon Gruden, pointing out the wide receiver’s mistake. What’s our reaction to that?

That’s just the nature of football. I make mistakes, other guys make mistakes, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to come together and learn from your mistakes and get better each and every day, each and every week, you’ve just got to get better, on the practice field and during games. I had a great time with coach Gruden. He helped me tremendously. I think he texted me just a second ago. I couldn’t thank coach Gruden (enough) for helping me.

There are different opinions about your leadership. What kind of teammate do you think you are?

I think I’m a great leader and teammate. If you ask all the guys on the team, they love hanging out with me. They love being around me and my family. I don’t know everything that was being said, but it’s over now. I’m a Carolina Panther. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now.

Does it motivate you, though, that 47 chances to pick you passed you up, and make you want to prove people wrong and redeem yourself?

It’s frustrating sometimes. It’s definitely going to be in the back of my mind every single time I step on the field, every single time I’m in the facility working out and watching film, to make me that much better. It’s a dream come true and I just can’t wait to get there.

Last night in first round, any spot you thought you were going?

My agent was telling me some of the teams wanted to get up, that the Steelers wanted to get up and make a trade into the top 10, that the Redskins wanted to take me at 4 and swap with St. Louis. There were a bunch of different things my agent was telling me. At the end of the day, I was just sitting back, really wasn’t just paying so much attention. Just wanted to get my name called and that didn’t happen, but I was really excited and thinking my name was going to get called.

When I got the phone call, I was jumping up for joy. I was playing pool with a bunch of my buddies. My brother handed me the phone. It was coach Fox and I was so excited.

Do you have any ties to the Carolinas or Charlotte, or have you been to Charlotte?

I went there, I think when I was going to South Bend, but I think that was about it.

You were playing pool when the call came?

I was playing pool with a bunch of my friends. My brother Rick and Casey (sp?) were sitting right there. They saw the phone ringing. They screamed at me and handed me the phone. It was coach Fox on the phone. That was a pretty big moment for me.

Were you watching the draft at that point?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t at all. I was playing pool with my buddies.

Where were you?

I was out in Palm Springs with my entire family and friends and my grandfather who leaves out in Palm Springs. My grandmother passed away about a month and a half ago, so I decided not to go to New York and just be here with my family and grandfather. (said he was at a hotel out there).

What do you think about the chance to throw passes to Steve Smith?

I can’t wait! I can’t wait! I’m trying to get his phone number right now so I can call him and just tell him how happy I am to be a Panther. I can’t wait to get to work with him.

****
1 – Courtesy of Inside the Panthers.

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