Even though former (I think it's safe to say that) Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has never actually stated publicly that he has no desire to play for the Bengals anymore, it's a safe bet that it's the truth. We must remember that he's never publicly denied anything either.
"Carson met with Bengals owner Mike Brown recently. They both expressed profound disappointment in how the team fared last season, and in how it has generally performed during Carson's tenure with the team. Because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together, Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties. Carson could no respect the Brown family any more than he does or be more appreciative of what the Browns have done for him and his wife Shaelyn and his family."
That says it all. Carson's done in Cincinnati.
So the question shouldn't really be "is Carson really done as a Bengal," because the answer is obviously yes. The question that we should be asking, though is "Why is Carson done as a Bengal?"
That's a question that we really can't answer unless we're speculating. The fact is, we have never been given a real answer, we've just speculated about the different reasons.
This has many of us, including former Benglas wide receiver Chris Colinsworth, very confused.
I live in Cincinnati, I played for the Bengals, I talk with Marvin Lewis, but I still have no idea exactly what happened with Carson Palmer. Yes, I have heard his wife doesn't like it in Cincinnati because the fans dumped garbage on their lawn after a game. I know she likes California better. But, is that really enough to walk away from a town that really has been pretty good to Carson? They have plenty of money, but can anybody really walk away from THAT much money? There has to be something more, but I really don't know what it is. Does he have an issue with Marvin Lewis? Is he sick of watching his wide receivers free lance? They did draft, supposedly, the best receiver in the draft this year in AJ Green. The Bengals had a bad year last year, but the year before they made the playoffs going undefeated in the division. Carson seems like such a stable guy, none of this really makes sense to me. I would even like to hear the rumors at this point. Anybody know?
We've taken a look at the route that Palmer wants to leave Cincinnati because his wife wears the pants, but I doubt that's truly the case. If it is, then... wow. I just wouldn't really know what to say other than "come on, dude."
We've also tried to understand the money thing. While we doubt that Carson Palmer really has $80 million saved up, we're pretty sure he has enough to live more than comfortably for the rest of his life, but Collinsworth is right -- Palmer would be walking away from $11.5 million in 2011, $11.5 million in 2012, $13 million in 2013 and $14 million in 2014. That would mean that he'd rather do nothing than play the sport he loves for $50 million guaranteed for the next four years. That's just kind of insane.
We've wondered about his deteriorating relationship with his veteran receivers, specifically Chad Ochocinco. Could that really be the reason he wants out? I doubt it, but if it is, all signs point to Ochocinco moving along to another team in 2011. The Bengals will have an extremely young and talented receiving corps, consisting of A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley, Andre Caldwell and Jermaine Gresham. Who wouldn't want to play with those receivers?
Is Marvin Lewis to blame? The Bengals re-signed Lewis after the 2010 season despite their disappointing 4-12 record. Could Palmer's trade demand have come because he wants a new head coach? I don't know, but I've never really seen any evidence to make us think that's the case.
Is it all the losing? Maybe, but at the same time, the Bengals did go to the playoffs in 2009 after sweeping their division, and it's not like the 2005 playoff season was 30 years ago. The Bengals have had successful seasons with Palmer at the helm. That doesn't really seem like the real reason either.
So what is it? Collinsworth is dead on by saying that all of this is very confusing.
I'm sure you totally want my opinion on the subject, right?
I'm thinking that it's probably a little of everything that we mentioned. Palmer can retire now, if he wants to, because of his financial situation, his wife doesn't like Cincinnati, he may not like Lewis that much, he's probably sick of the losing and he probably has been burnt out by dealing with Ochocinco for too many seasons.
I don't think that there's really one solid reason why Palmer wants to leave the Queen City, but I'm thinking that there's a bunch of small reasons, and as we all know, small stuff can always pile up to create something big.