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"It's Time Now for Despondency and Accusations"

I have to hand it to Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown: the man can turn a phrase. "Despondency and accusations." Yea, verily. Let the bad times rouler.

Brown's quote is part of his assessment of QB Carson Palmer's demand to be traded:

"We want him to re-up and we want him back in good spirit and my belief is in time he will come around," Brown said. "This was a deeply disappointing season for us. We've all suffered from it. It's time now for despondency and accusations. We'll work through it. I do believe it will rebound. We'll catch our breath and I think we'll give a good account of ourselves the next time out. I believe that to my core."

In short, according to Mike, Carson's just going through a phase. No biggie. Bad season, bummed out, people say things they don't mean. Brown promised to "reach out to him." To "understand what's in his craw." Maybe even do some things that "will appeal to him."

Never mind that Palmer reportedly already met with Brown, made his case and got shot down. Clearly, The Godfather isn't buying Palmer's threat to flush $50 million over the next four years down the drain. Palmer retire? "Impractical," says Brown.

And I suppose you can't blame him for thinking that way. After all, Corey Dillon famously declared that he'd rather flip burgers than play for Mike Brown -- just before signing a big-bucks deal. In 2008, Chad Ochocinco said he'd sit out if not traded, then showed up to camps and later admitted he had no intention of following through on his threat. The bottom line is, guys who have walked away from big piles of money are few and far between.

All of that said, Carson Palmer might just turn out to be one of that rare breed.

First off, Palmer's frustrations are nothing new. He's just been better at locking them away.

Asked if he thought the same coaching staff could turn it from being stale, Palmer said, "I don't think so," but he also said he doesn't know if Lewis will make those changes. "I don't make those decisions," he said. "I play quarterback." Although he's the highest-paid player on the team and a virtual limited partner of Bengals president Mike Brown with a $118 million contract, Palmer said he's not going to interject himself in team affairs.

That was 2008. Apparently, things have changed. As for the money, well, it's hard to spend it if you're dead.

"The truth of the matter is ... somebody is going to die here in the NFL. It's going to happen."

So...Carson has been unhappy for a while, and now with kid No. 3's arrival imminent, might be even less inclined to go risk his neck in a game in which he's convinced someone will die sooner or later. And with him having pulled in something like $60 million-plus over the last eight years, the motivation for him to go on getting his butt slammed to the turf by 300-pound defensive linemen might just be overcoming the natural attraction to even bigger gobs and gobs of liquid cash.

Bottom line: Mike Brown would be wise to play this carefully, lest he find his own reasons for despondency and accusations.

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