I never claimed to be the smartest guy in the world, but I have been perplexed by the variety of opinions on Carson Palmer and his demands. What’s been fairly black and white to me since the very beginning seems to have drawn a lot of complex and diverse opinions.
Some want to dish out kudos for Palmer for “standing up” to mean old Mike Brown and the organization’s losing ways. Others simply support his right to retire or demand a trade, spending time contemplating his value on the open market (whenever there is one).
What’s most troubling for me at least, is the idea that the Bengals need Palmer to win; so much so that some fans and pundits say the team should enlist every available resource to placate the pouting signal caller and convince him to come back—even if just for one year.
Whether Quitter Carson is an elite quarterback or not is irrelevant. Whether he can scrape together an extra win or two in 2011 in likewise immaterial. The team cannot—it must not—be held hostage by one player, no matter how important he may supposedly be.
Palmer has proven that he is no leader of men. To be willing to walk away from coaches, fans, and teammates alike, leave 50 million dollars on the table, and abandon his legacy takes a special kind of cowardice. Number nine—the franchise—has chosen to take his ball and go home, leaving his charges to fend for themselves.
For this singular reason, he can never again be allowed in the locker room or the huddle to lead a team. This has, and always will be, my position on the matter.
And I’m happy to report that those who would share a huddle with him feel the same. Cedric Benson, Tank Johnson, Adam Jones, and now Andrew Whitworth have all come out on record to state that they are more than ready to move on without the golden boy from Cali.
“To bring him back would only be detrimental to the team and to him,” Benson said. “This guy wants to be free and to soar somewhere else. Don’t lock a man down whom you know he won’t be happy if he stays.”
Whitworth, the man charged with protecting the quarterback’s blind side and who’s currently organizing team workouts agrees. “We’ve moved on” was how he put it.
Both were careful to show respect to a former teammate and friend while also expressing their point. Jones, perhaps less diplomatic, put it best.
“If Carson don’t want to be here, damn him, period, point blank,” the former Pacman said.
“I want some guys that want to play and want to win, period, point blank and that’s the end of that discussion.”
The Bengals won just four games with Palmer starting every single game last year. Not a huge hurdle to cross without him.
Once the collective bargaining agreement is resolved, old man Brown should either trade Palmer for value or let him rot and unload him next offseason. I for one am ready for the Dalton era, or even the Jordan Palmer era. I want a quarterback I can be proud of and one that 52 other guys can rally behind.
I want a quarterback who plans to lead the charge, not surrender his post when things get tough. Whit, Ced, and Jones deserve that, and so does Marvin Lewis.