November 24, 2009
I haven't been doing this very long compared to some people, but I'm pretty certain that if any random straw poll of fans was asked to respond to the question "Which college football player would you most like to punch in the face?" no player over the last five years would finish in the same ballpark as Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, the perfect storm of hype, hair gel and unearned entitlement at the most high profile position in the most widely-despised program in America. Not that Jimmy deserves to be punched in the face or anywhere else, of course, but still -- there are no doubt a lot of smiling people tonight living vicariously through an anonymous patron of CJ's in South Bend, where Clausen was reportedly dealt at least one shiner a few hours after the Irish's deflating double-OT loss to UConn:
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen was involved in a fight outside a South Bend bar early Sunday morning, according to a report Monday evening by WGN-AM's David Kaplan.
According to Kaplan, Clausen has two black eyes from the altercation at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday. ... The Tribune's Brian Hamilton reports that a South Bend police spokesman said Monday no police reports were filed over the weekend that involved Clausen. The particulars of the confrontation are thus unclear, though a person answering the phone at CJ's, the bar in question, said the incident "absolutely did not take place inside the bar."
The Worldwide Leader's Joe Schad also confirmed Clausen has a swollen eye, at minimum, after being "sucker-punched" outside a bar. If true, it follows Clausen's citation for underage possession as a freshman and starring role in the '08 "Beer Olympics" to keep his career average for minor off-field incidents at one per season.
On the bright side, everyone may be too busy examining Clausen's face for the rest of the week to concentrate on the growing speculation that he'll follow coach Charlie Weis into the NFL by tossing his name into the pool of early entrants for the draft following Saturday's regular season finale at Stanford. If there's anywhere a highly visible party hound can go to keep his after-hours exploits under wraps, it's the NFL, right?
[UPDATE, 12:40 p.m. ET] Via Brooks, the South Bend Tribute reports Clausen was sticking up for his date after a family dinner and got into brief scrum when someone outside the bar pushed her; police showed because of "other skirmishes" at the bar but made no arrests. If there was any question, Clausen will start the Stanford game.