Last February, former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer emerged from irrelevance to issue a warning to Joe Burrow, who was the clear favorite to be drafted first overall by Cincinnati. He spoke indirectly to the LSU star on The D.A. Show, saying the Bengals are not committed to winning championships. This, he argued, was because they rely too heavily on the Draft and do not spend in free agency.
Just a few months earlier, in November, Palmer made a similar statement about the organization not making the necessary moves to win. He said former players and NFL staff warned him that Cincinnati is “a quarterback graveyard,” but that he didn’t listen because, at the time, he was an “arrogant, young, dumb, 20-year-old kid.” (Okay, that last part is almost accurate— except for the fact that he was 23-years-old when drafted.) He then said that he was “100 percent wrong” because, unlike great organizations, the Bengals “are not manipulative of the draft and moving players and churning up rosters and building the right chemistry in the locker room.” He added that, “8-8 is like winning the Super Bowl for the organization in Cincinnati.”
That’s funny coming from a guy who threw twenty interceptions (and another twenty or so dropped picks) his last year in Cincinnati while going 4-12, only to see the team make five straight playoff appearances immediately following his departure.
Apparently, Palmer, who has one postseason victory to his name (and even played poorly in that game until being bailed out by Larry Fitzgerald), can’t let go of the fact that he never lived up to his golden boy billing.
Most recently, he called into The Rich Eisen Show to talk about the upcoming Draft and mentioned that the Chicago Bears were interested in trading up for him. “Jerry [Angelo, the general manager], come get me, man. This is a great opportunity,” he claims to have said on his Pro Day. This was because, Palmer explains to Eisen, the Bears had a great defense with Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles “Peanut” Tillman, all of whom - it should be mentioned - were drafted by the team and not splashy free agent signings. And Tillman, as All Bengals pointed out, wasn’t even on the team at the time.
Palmer was also “intrigued” by the Bears’ offensive line and the overall strength of their roster when compared to the Bengals. Unfortunately, the bitter 41-year-old sadly notes, the Bengals weren’t willing to listen to trade offers.
Because Palmer never got to fulfill his dream as the next in line of legendary Chicago quarterbacks (that’s sarcasm), he was “pissed” at Angelo and could not wait to show them what they missed out on. He “got the last laugh” by actually playing well, going 4-0 with a QB rating of 122.8, his best against any opponent. Just imagine if he had that much heart the rest of his career.
In short, the exceedingly-mature Palmer was angry at the Bears for not forcing the Bengals to trade away their pick. This resulted in him signing a measly $43 million rookie contract with the expectation that he would actually elevate his team, as opposed to the situation he greatly preferred: being handed a roster that would make the Super Bowl roster just three years later.
And that’s the difference between Palmer and Burrow. The latter is not constantly looking to shift blame and doesn’t want anything handed to him. He wants to earn that long awaited postseason victory. He’s an Ohio man through-and-through who called it his “dream” to play for the Bengals.
Furthermore, Burrow knows of the team’s exceptional history developing quarterbacks, from Greg Cook to Ken Anderson to Boomer Esiason to Jeff Blake to Andy Dalton. He respects the franchise and its place in NFL lore.
The hard truth for Palmer is that the current franchise QB is far more likely to fulfill his potential at the professional level than the failed (and now begrudging) one from the 2000’s. In fact, this writer believes that, deep down, Palmer is, indeed, worried that Burrow’s mental composure and desire will lead to great success in Cincinnati, making it all the more apparent that Palmer was a big part of the problem.
In the following video, we talk about Palmer in the larger context of the new uniforms:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: