Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Love And Hate Affair With Carson Palmer

When the terrible Cincinnati Bengals drafted quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003, I thought the end of my fan nightmare was over. This was to be a new era. We had a new coach in Marvin Lewis. He was supposed to have more power than any other coach. That meant no more boneheaded decisions by owner Mike Brown. The Bengals would win again.

And Carson Palmer was a very good quarterback for the first few years he started. His career climaxed when he led the Bengals to an AFC North championship in 2005. It looked like the Bengals would win the Super Bowl. Then Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen shredded Palmer's knee in the first playoff game. But Palmer showed his resolve and worked his way to come back in the next year. How good was Palmer? He made the Pro Bowl in 2006.

But Palmer knew the history of the team. He knew of the boneheaded decisions by Mike Brown. He knew the team had only two winning seasons in twenty. He could see the Bengals slipping back to their losing ways. It had to come clear to him how badly this team was run when owner Mike Brown resigned wide receiver and one man crime wave Chris Henry in 2008 after head coach Marvin Lewis explicitly said he didn't want him back. It had to come clear to him when wide receiver Chad Ochocinco started to care more about his post football career rather than being a team player. And while 2009 was a successful year, the Bengals went back to their losing ways in 2010. Palmer didn't play all that well in 2010 and any problems that wide receiver Terrell Owens brought were partly Palmer's responsibility since Palmer wanted Owens. But the history of the last decade had caught up with the Bengals.

I admire Carson Palmer for the years he spent here as quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He showed courage and determination when he overcame that possible career ending knee injury. He was a model citizen, generous and a honorable guy. And when he was on, he was a great quarterback.

But what bothers me about his recent demand to be traded or he will retire threat is its selfishness. Palmer made a lot of money off the Bengals and the fans through endorsements. Yeah, he was a winner all through his high school and college years. However, life doesn't always allow you to win all the time. Many of us suffer from financial and personal problems. Carson Palmer was unlucky to be drafted by the worst professional football team in the history of mankind. That's life. Sometimes when faced with adversity you have to deal with it. And demanding a trade, makes Palmer a guy who quit on his teammates and the fans of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Carson Palmer has been criticized for not being a leader. His stance might be his best example of leadership. He is saying he would rather quit, leave millions of dollars on the table than play for a dysfunctional team like the Bengals. But doing so has returned football fans of Cincinnati back to the dark days of Bengals football.

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