Commentary

Clowney hoping to catch on in Carolina

Ex-Jets receiver, back in N.J. for a fundraiser, wants to build future with Panthers

Updated: November 4, 2010, 9:38 AM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

LINDEN, N.J. -- David Clowney never wanted to leave the New York Jets, but it was clear from the moment training camp began that, with so many mouths to feed at wide receiver, something would have to give.

Still, Clowney didn't like the way his time with the Jets ended. He made the 53-man roster, was waived on Sept. 5, brought back on Sept. 14 and waived again on Oct. 4, when the Carolina Panthers picked him up.

"That was mixed feelings, hands down," Clowney said. "To be released, I was surprised I didn't get claimed initially, but I came back thinking everything is good -- then you're gone again. I love the Jets, I have much respect for Mike Tannenbaum, I love Rex Ryan, but in a way I felt I kind of got used a little bit."

[+] EnlargeDavid Clowney
AP Photo/Mike McCarnDavid Clowney has played three games for the Panthers since being waived by the Jets.

He was known as Mr. August with the Jets, and says that's a tough role to have. "I have to get the ball to do that in the regular season," Clowney said of replicating his preseason production. "If you don't get the ball there's nothing you can do about it."

He had just one catch this season in three games with the Jets, a 22-yarder against Miami.

Clowney was back with his teammates on Monday to co-host Santonio Holmes' fundraiser for sickle-cell anemia research at Jersey Lanes in Linden. He joined Holmes -- a high school rival and longtime friend -- as well as Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez and others at the bowling alley. The event had been in the works since the summer, and Clowney wasn't going to miss it.

"He did a good job for us. He caught my first pass," Sanchez said. "It's hard to see guys you know, you have an attachment -- and an emotional attachment too -- and then he's gone."

Clowney has three catches for 21 yards in three games with Carolina. He is trying to fit in with a team that has a lot of younger players, and trying to get the system down so he can make more of an impact. In some ways, Clowney might have an opportunity there that he wouldn't have had with the Jets.

"I think in a lot of ways it's good for him," Sanchez said. "He's doing a good job. He's showing what he can do. It's just hard for guys on our team, with so much talent."

Still, life has changed for Clowney since moving south. He used to have his little brother, Jordan Bean, living with him in New Jersey, but Bean is back with his family in Florida until Clowney establishes a little more stability.

"I'm in the last year of my contract," Clowney said. "So hopefully it will work out where I can be with the Panthers, be settled in for good, and bring my brother up here with me."

Clowney hopes that he has a new home, and felt a surge of optimism earlier this season despite a loss to Chicago. The Panthers are 1-6 and struggling, but Clowney told his teammates after the game that he believes in this group.

"I let them know this is a great team," Clowney said. "I saw a lot of great things in that first game that we lost and it just has to get put together.

"Including myself."

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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