A year ago at this time, it gradually became evident that quarterback Carson Palmer no longer was interested in playing football for the Cincinnati Bengals. As weeks and months passed, it became more obvious that Palmer never would play for the Bengals.
As the regular season approached, Palmer didn’t show up and Bengals owner Mike Brown showed zero inclination to trade Palmer.
Then, when Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell suffered a broken collarbone only days before the annual trading deadline, the Raiders and former Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson made an aggressive play for Palmer, sending a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013, which will become another first-round pick if the Raiders make it to the AFC title game.
Now, Jackson is gone and Palmer remains under contract and G.M. Reggie McKenzie could end up hiring a coach who doesn’t want Palmer to be the team’s quarterback. McKenzie said on Tuesday that Palmer will be the quarterback heading into the offseason; however, McKenzie also said that Palmer won’t be immune to being pushed by a good player.
Then there’s the question of whether Palmer wants to return. The guy has already quit on a team once. Would it be unreasonable to at least wonder whether he’ll quit again, now that the coach who brought him to the Bay Area has been fired?
That said, it will be hard for Palmer to pull off another trade-me-or-I’m-not-playing maneuver. He somehow escaped widespread criticism for walking away from the Bengals. If Palmer does the Veruca Salt thing for a second straight year, the fans and the media may begin to scrutinize him the way the fans and the media largely didn’t in 2011.