No 'Luck' for Panthers|Stanford QB will return to school
Published 5:41 pm Friday, January 7, 2011
By By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE Theres been suggestions over the years the Carolina Panthers can never catch a break.
Now theyre out of Luck, too.
The lone bright spot amid Carolinas NFL-worst 2-14 season was getting the No. 1 overall draft pick and the chance to take potential franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. But three days after a masterful performance in the Orange Bowl, Luck squashed the Panthers dreams on Thursday in a two-paragraph statement in which he announced hes staying in school.
I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012, the redshirt sophomore said.
Luck didnt only forego possibly $50 million in guaranteed money, he caused a major jolt in Carolinas offseason as the franchise is also busy trying to find a replacement for coach John Fox.
Luck fever had been gripping the area for weeks. A day after the Panthers 31-10 loss to Atlanta to close their awful season, fans tuned in Monday night to watch Luck throw for 287 yards and four touchdowns one more than Carolinas Jimmy Clausen managed in 10 starts in Stanfords 40-12 win over Virginia Tech.
A day later during a rambling news conference in which he also took a hard stand against the players in labor negotiations, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson indicated they had no plans to trade the No. 1 pick.
I think it would be somewhat unusual for us to trade down in this particular case, Richardson said.
Now the Panthers may be rethinking their position. Lucks decision also is a big deal for Clausen, who went 1-9 as a starter with an NFL-worst 58.4 passer rating.
Somewhere right now my boy Jimmy Clausen is doin the jersey shore fist pump, Panthers safety Gerald Alexander wrote on Twitter.
The Panthers, who have made the playoffs only four times in their 16-year history and have never posted consecutive winning seasons, had hoped to get what many considered one of the top QB prospects of the past decade.
Now theyll face big decisions. Clemson defensive end DaQuan Bowers declared for the draft on Wednesday and might move into the top spot on draft boards. Carolina may also try to trade down for extra picks to help fill numerous holes.
The Panthers are eyeing NFL defensive coordinators as they seek to replace Fox, who was let go after nine seasons. San Diegos Ron Rivera, Perry Fewell of the New York Giants, San Franciscos Greg Manusky and Rob Ryan of Cleveland have been identified as candidates.
Ryan got a strong recommendation from his brother, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, on Thursday.
I know hes going to get opportunities, but to say that hes specifically interested in Carolina my brother would be interested in any job, Rex Ryan said. If theres one in Alaska, hed be interested in that. Thats just like me. If I had the opportunity to be a head coach, I wouldve walked there.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. in Florham Park, N.J., contributed to this report.