It was the morning during the NFL's conference playoff games on January 23, when NFL Insider Chris Mortensen broke the story during ESPN's Sunday Countdown, reporting that Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer demanded a trade or he would play the "retirement card." It's hard not to forget because the news was equally shocking, disheartening and enraging. But another emotion surfaced. I wrote at the time:
As surprising as Palmer's announcement may be, it's not without a sense of relief either. Bengals fans have been siding towards the team moving in a new direction with a new quarterback in 2010, mostly since Palmer's career seemed to continuously degrade in previous seasons. This includes issues with declining technique, often shorting his throws and failing to check off covered receivers, often throwing into double and triple coverage.
The frustration that Palmer installed in someone like me was, at best, described as asphyxia.
For someone so "elite", that was diminished as "good", quickly followed up with the description of "average", his perceived detachment, compounded by the dull-eyed leaderless persona, was agitating, though increasingly routine. Would it have been nice to have seen what Palmer could do in Jay Gruden's offense? Admittedly, yes (before watching Andy Dalton in the regular season). Am I at all caring about that anymore; not a single bit. Don't get me wrong, I like Palmer and he seems to be a decent enough member of society, as opposed to the more shady fellows that we walk past on a busy downtown sidewalk. But as a football player, I was exhausted watching him, resolved to wave the white flag and resign myself to mediocrity. It became so bad that I was catching myself becoming envious of other quarterbacks in the league.
Yet Palmer himself never spoke to the media about the trade demand, not even acknowledging it and once claiming to be on a media hiatus during a celebrity golf outing. That's it. A quote was never attributed to Palmer regarding his demand for a trade. During Tuesday's press conference announcing him to the Raiders media, Carson Palmer was asked about it and he replied:
"It was time to move on."
He reiterated that with the Cincinnati beat writers, with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com tweeting that Palmer "Never wanted (trade demand) to go public. Never said things attributed to me. It was just time." Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer added:
"It was a number of different things. I spoke my peace with them. It was just time."
That was it; as of this posting at least.
No, my great friends of a team that now cheers for an Andy Dalton offense. None of this matters anymore. Before Tuesday Carson Palmer was nothing more than a way to annoy the great readers at Cincy Jungle with updates that weren't really updates; rather incremental changes of a subject moving slower than Earth's tectonic plates. And much like the convection between those plates, the Bengals community was rocked by the ending of a distracting story that can finally end.