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Clausen hits Panthers' facility early with sights set on playbook

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As I walked into the Carolina Panthers' facility Friday, I bumped into second-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the team parking lot as we both arrived around 7:25 a.m. ET. By all accounts, Clausen was first among a handful of Panthers who showed up for a voluntary meeting scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

I asked Clausen what he thought about the Panthers' selection of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, one year after he was taken with the team's second-round choice.

"They've got to do what they got to do," Clausen said.

He didn't seem outwardly bothered by Carolina's decision to draft a quarterback and said he'll compete as hard as he always has.

Clausen said that before the start of the NFL lockout in March, he'd met most of the new coaching staff. At the time, they were still formulating the Panthers' playbook. Clausen said one reason for his early arrival was to get his hands on the playbook and return to work.

Along with Clausen, backup quarterbacks Tony Pike and Matt Moore and offensive linemen Ryan Kalil and Duke Robinson also were on hand. It has been mainly offensive players so far.

"It's like Christmas," said Robinson, adding that he planned to work out following the meeting.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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