In a week where the Cincinnati headlines will be dominated by the return of their former quarterback, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is urging his players to remain professional and keep things in perspective.
There's no doubt that this week's game versus the Oakland Raiders is an emotionally-charged one. Fans are still upset at former quarterback Carson Palmer for his self-imposed exodus from Cincinnati and there are likely some feelings that Palmer is harboring for how everything played out during his Bengals career. Beyond that, it wouldn't surprise anyone if they found that some current Bengals players who played with Palmer in Cincinnati hold some emotions on Palmer and his return.
On Monday, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis touched on the subject to the media and urged calmness and professionalism to his players with the emotions that will come with this week. Ever having the watchful eye on his players' Twitter accounts and how they address the media, Lewis told his players how he expects them to act this week. Lewis said (via Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer):
"There’s no reason for them to answer questions. Thirty of them were never here with Carson. Thirty of 53. That tells you how quickly things change in the NFL."
"Now he’s not here so our job is to beat the Oakland Raiders and Carson Palmer come Sunday. That’s part of what we’re here for."
It's a valid point, really. Though there are a decent amount of players on the roster who likely have some feelings on the subject, there's an even bigger group that likely doesn't have a take on the subject because they weren't around for the whirlwind. Still, in any locker room, players talk and you would have to bet that a guy like Andy Dalton, who wasn't here with Palmer, understands the storyline here and has some feelings on the subject. You also have to raise an eyebrow at how quickly Lewis threw out that roster number, as it likely means that he's looked into this a little bit.
Regardless, don't expect much trash-talking and/or Palmer comments from Bengals players this week.