It is almost hard to believe that just three years ago, Carson Palmer was the Cincinnati Bengals’ starting quarterback. The Bengals have come a long way since bidding go riddance to their Heisman Trophy winning golden boy; Palmer – not so much. Carson Palmer did not leave the Bengals gracefully and created significant bad feelings with fans in Cincinnati. This Sunday, he will return to Paul Brown Stadium to meet his former team for the first time.
Carson Palmer was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals as the first overall pick in 2003 and for a while, it seemed like a good match. Palmer led the Bengals to their first playoff appearance in 15 years in 2006 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, but sustained a severe injury when Steelers’ Kimo von Oelhoffen rolled into his knee during the Bengals first drive of the game.
After surgery and rehabilitation Carson Palmer returned the following year, but he never seemed to regain whatever he had that made him capable of greatness prior to his injury. The Cincinnati Bengals struggled with Palmer at the helm, and Palmer chose to cast blame on the Bengals organization.
Carson Palmer announced at the end of the 2010 season that despite being under contract, he would not play for the Cincinnati Bengals again. He would prefer to retire from the game entirely rather than continue on with the Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown called Palmer’s bluff, the team drafted quarterback Andy Dalton, and Carson Palmer retired. Then the Oakland Raiders became desperate for a quarterback mid-season when Jason Campbell was injured and made the Bengals an offer, which included their first round draft pick, they could not refuse.
Now Carson Palmer will be returning to Cincinnati for the first time to face the team, and the fans, he turned is back on. And though Bengals fans are likely still bitter, it is clear they are the ones having the last laugh at Palmer’s expense.
While the Bengals made it to the playoffs last year with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, Palmer and the Raiders fell short. The current 2012 season has had its share of bumps for the Bengals, yet they are still in the running for a playoff spot at 5-5, while Carson Palmer’s Raiders are struggling at 3-7.
Overall, the Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of young talent and hope for the future, whereas the Raiders appear to be headed nowhere fast. Perhaps this will inspire Cincinnati Bengals’ fans to cut Carson Palmer some slack upon his return this Sunday. But don’t count on it.
ESPN.com new services,”Carson Palmer: I have $80M in bank,” ESPN
Associated Press, “Carson Palmer traded to Raiders,” ESPN
Lisa Stewart is a married mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a die-hard Bengals fan who looks forward to the day when they will finally win it all.
Follow Lisa on Twitter: @lisa0606
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