San Francisco 49ers

Economy class: Ex-49er Ken Dorsey finds niche with Panthers fun-loving QBs

Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, left, and starting QB Cam Newton, shown in 2013, both have a strong competitive fire.
Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, left, and starting QB Cam Newton, shown in 2013, both have a strong competitive fire. Associated Press file

SAN JOSE -- When he played quarterback for the 49ers, Ken Dorsey famously drove the same beat up, silver, 1996 Honda Accord with the malfunctioning radio he bought -- used -- when he first went to the University of Miami.

He's "upgraded" since.

Dorsey, now the Panthers quarterbacks coach, goes to work in a Lexus that's even older than his Honda. It's a 1992 model his wife's parents gave her as a high-school graduation gift. "So it's a hand-me-down from my wife," he said.

Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson has more details.

"Oh, he's the cheapest guy I ever met," Anderson said. "(The car's) got a tilted Miami emblem on there that's all cockeyed. He's been driving that thing forever."

Dorsey, 34, is an interesting fit in a quarterback group that includes a fashion-forward superstar (just look at his pants) in Cam Newton, Anderson, for whom Dorsey served as backup with the Cleveland Browns, and Joe Webb, who as a senior in college rushed for 1,427 yards. Dorsey's college rushing total over four years: minus-79 yards.

The 49ers drafted Dorsey in the seventh round in 2003, and he started 10 games in three seasons for the team.

The East Bay native is only two years older than Anderson, and the latter admitted there was some initial awkwardness when Dorsey was hired to run Carolina’s quarterbacks group.

"But that only lasted a couple of days," he said. "And I commend him for everything he does for us. Because I know it's not easy in our room because we're kind of a pain in the a-- at times. In a good way."

The common element among them: Everyone has a strong competitive streak.

"On game day, he's calm on the outside," Anderson said of Dorsey. "But on the inside, he's burning. I love it when he gets fired up and he gets (ticked) off. It just shows his passion for the game."

Dorsey said that fire is what unites him with Newton, who is the favorite to win the league’s MVP award on Saturday.

"He appreciates that," Dorsey said. "That the competitive nature, the desire to win is kind of on par with his. And I think that personality fits well in that group."

As for his beloved Honda, which Dorsey dubbed "Baby," he said he donated it to Goodwill. "Someone got a heck of a deal on that car," he insisted.

At some pint, Dorsey said, he will get a new ride. He already has a good idea what he's after.

"I need a hybrid for the gas mileage," he said.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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