The addition of former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen gives the Bears a crowd of five at the position -- at least for the time being -- and muddles the backup spot, which currently belongs to veteran Jordan Palmer.
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Clausen was drafted in the second round (48th overall) by the Carolina Panthers in 2010 and played in 13 games as a rookie, starting 10. But he threw just 3 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions for a 58.4 passer rating. He completed 52.5 percent of his passes and was sacked 33 times.
Clausen has not thrown a pass in the NFL since completing his rookie season. In 2011, the Panthers used the No. 1 overall draft pick to take quarterback Cam Newton. Clausen played in all four preseason games for the Panthers last season but suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, was waived and spent the season on injured reserve.
More than an hour before the Bears announced the signing at 6 p.m., Clausen tweeted: "Excited to start a new chapter with the Chicago Bears! Blessed to have the opportunity and looking forward to getting started!!"
The Bears, who are in the midst of OTAs (organized team activities), already had four quarterbacks on the roster: starter Jay Cutler, Palmer, first-year player Jerrod Johnson, and sixth-round draft pick David Fales.
But Palmer's status as the No. 2 could be in jeopardy now that Clausen is in the mix, even though general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman have expressed confidence in Palmer as Cutler's top backup.
Clausen was the USA Today national player of the year in high school at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., throwing for 49 touchdowns and leading his team to the Division III state title. After his junior season at Notre Dame, when he threw for 28 touchdowns and was intercepted four times, Clausen declared for the NFL draft with a year of eligibility remaining.
Also on Thursday, the Bears waived linebacker Lawrence Wilson to make room for Clausen on the 90-man roster. They are not expected to report to training camp on July 23 with five quarterbacks on the roster.
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