I guess Mike Brown is human after all. It is apparent that his golden boy has hurt his feelings, as he made a terse but definitive statement this afternoon regarding the future of the former face of the franchise, Carson Palmer. Brown had sidestepped the issue all spring and summer, being polite but hopeful in his rhetoric about Palmer’s stance on playing for the Bengals. That period has apparently ended.
Brown in March: “I want him back. I haven’t talked to any other team about him. I have no plans to trade him.”
Brown in May: “He’s important to us. He’s a very fine player, and we do want him to come back. If he chooses not to, he’d retire. And we would go with Andy Dalton, the younger player we drafted, who’s a good prospect. Ideally, we’d have both of them. That’d be the best way to go forward. If we don’t have Carson, we’ll go with Andy.”
Brown Today: “I’m not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract. He made a commitment. We have relied on his commitment. We expect him to perform it here. If he doesn’t and walks away from his commitment, we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”
Brown has issued the final decree, a declaration that calls into question Palmer’s honor, his word, and his class. Palmer has remained quiet throughout this process, only speaking through others and not giving a reason for why he wants out. Bengaldom doesn’t need an explanation, but many of us want one. What was the final straw that pushed him over the edge? How long did he want out, and was it the reason for his poor performance of late? Will this shot across the bow unleash a torrent of venom from the former face of the franchise? I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Now that Brown has said his piece, it seems we can put to rest the trade talk, the visions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returning touchdowns in a striped helmet or the idea of multiple first round picks next offseason. Just like that, Brown proved that he was who we all thought he was. Its honorable and ridiculously narrow minded at the same time. I admire his willingness to take a stand, an unpopular one, in the face of tremendous negativity. I also know it hurts the future of the team that I have loved longer than I have known my wife, longer than my kids have been alive, longer than I should have… It is an unrequited love that disappoints annually like clockwork, yet with each disappointment I find the strength to go on. Let the Dalton era begin!
There is no remedy for love but to love more. ~Henry David Thoreau