Panthers so loose Cam framed as FSU fan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers placekicker Graham Gano majored in criminology at Florida State, which means he has a pretty good understanding of criminal behavior.

On Monday, he put that to good use, sneaking into the Carolina locker room before most players arrived, hanging an FSU sweatshirt on quarterback Cam Newton's locker and then tweeting a picture of it with this message:

Newton led the Auburn Tigers, which plays Florida State for the BCS National Championship on Monday night, to the 2011 championship with an undefeated season.

He wasn't available to defend himself, and he's not on Twitter, but Newton made his allegiance pretty clear with an Auburn-colored orange shirt under his jersey during practice.

Remember, this is the same person who has opened several news conferences recently with "War Eagles."

But the moment showed just how loose the locker room atmosphere was as the Panthers (12-4) began preparation for Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Gano was pretty excited that the picture was retweeted by ESPN's SportsCenter, telling wide receiver Steve Smith: "I sent a tweet of my Florida State hoody on Cam's locker and it was all over SportsCenter."

As a group of reporters gathered, Gano pointed to the hoody now crumpled up in his locker and said, "Here it is. Come and question me everyone."

Then he put his criminology background to work.

"Who put the jersey in there?" a reporter asked.

Gano: "I think that's Cam's. I don't know how it got in my locker. No idea."

"How early did you have to get here to take the picture," a reporter asked.

Gano: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Then it was suggested that Gano's Twitter account was hacked and somebody else took the picture to frame Newton.

Gano: "Exactly. Then they took [the hoody] down and threw it in my locker."

For the record, Gano showed the picture to Newton and Newton allegedly laughed.

The two allegedly didn't bet on the game, though.

"No, we can't bet," Gano said with a smile. "You know that."