By: Mike Vukovcan

Pittsburgh (KDKA)- Thursday night Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton will get the toughest assignment of his young career.

The #1 pick of the 2011 NFL Draft will take on Dick LeBeau and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera has announced that Newton will once again start for the Panthers.

All indications are Newton will be the starter when the Panthers open their regular season Sept. 11 at Arizona. Rivera’s other options are former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and former Cleveland Brown Derek Anderson.

So far this preseason, Newton has completed 21 of 52 (40.4 percent) passes for 275 yards and no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 57.8 passer rating and one rushing touchdown.

The last time Carolina started a season with a rookie quarterback was Chris Weinke back in 2001. It was a rough season as the Panthers went 1-15.

Thursday night’s game will be televised on KDKA-TV with Bob Pompeani and Edmund Nelson. Kickoff is set for 8 pm.

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