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Carson Palmer reflects on playing with Chad Johnson and Chris Henry

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Carson Palmer helped lead arguably the greatest offense the Bengals franchise has ever had during that memorable 2005 season.

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Carson Palmer recently joined Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer to talk about the memorable 2005 Bengals squad, part of Dehner Jr.'s podcast looking back on the 2005 Bengals a decade later.

Palmer offered up some interesting thoughts on two of the most talented and polarizing receivers ever to don Bengals stripes. Chad Johnson was just hitting his prime in 2005, but most remember him for his off-the-field antics that many labeled as selfish and being a distraction to the team.

But, Palmer didn't think they were a distraction at all.

"I always just enjoyed Chad. Those things that he would do, like when he sent the Pepto Bismal to the group of defensive backs, it was just funny. It was nothing more and nothing less than just being funny. It wasn't disrespectful. It wasn't distracting. It was just funny."

Perhaps the most vocal statement Chad ever publicly made came that very year when he guaranteed the Bengals would make the playoffs. With today's Bengals coming off four-straight playoff trips, that doesn't seem like much, but this guarantee came in the midst of a 15-year drought with no postseason football for the Queen City.

"I remember at the beginning of training camp when Chad said he guaranteed we'd make the playoffs, and everybody was so taken back by it, and there was so much talk of him saying that. I just thought, 'Man, he's talking about making the playoffs. A lot of teams make the playoffs, and it's not that big of a statement.' But it was such a big deal from everyone on the outside. Within the team, we thought, 'Yeah, we probably should. Let's go to work and make it happen.'"

The way Palmer saw it, that's the kind of mentality the Bengals needed to have, not the type a team that had missed the playoffs the previous 15 years would typically have.

"Those kind of expectations and that kind of talk at the time only came from the players and was only expected by the players. I don't think the organization or anyone else there had that kind of feeling. It was good for Chad to come out and say that because the players kind of felt it, but the only place you felt that was from within the actual players."

As it turned out, the Bengals would go on to win 11 games, the AFC North and earn a playoff win that very year. While Chad and Carson were much larger focal points of the offense, one rookie receiver was quietly emerging as a force to be reckoned with.

That was Chris Henry, whom the Bengals had drafted in the third round out of West Virginia that year. On a team with two of the franchise's all-time greats in Chad and T.J. Houshmanzedah, it was Henry who drew the ultimate praise from Palmer.

"He was special. He was probably one of the most physically gifted receivers I've ever played with. College, NFL, bunch of teams. He was fast and sudden. He was quick for being so tall. He had such long arms. He had such a knack for football. He just got it. He knew how to get open. He knew how to contort his body to get to that open zone or open hole. He knew how to slow himself down and get open. And then he just had that extra gear.

"I'll never forget the one ball I threw to Chris against San Francisco on Thursday Night Football. The offense was out of sync and we couldn't get anything going, and I just dropped back and chucked it. As soon as I let it go, I thought I threw it 20 yards over Chris' head, and it was like someone just hit fast-forward on Tivo and somehow got to the ball and scored like a 70, 80-yard touchdown. More than anything, he just had that extra gear. If you could time him in the 40-yard dash when he's in that gear, he'd be the fastest guy in the NFL."

If you haven't already, you can listen to the full interview of Palmer reflecting on his days in Bengal stripes.