As the Cincinnati Bengals' 2011 season of redemption continues and Andy Dalton progresses with the support of a rejuvenated defense behind him, the memories of Carson Palmer fade every so quickly to the background.
Sure, Dalton has yet to find a full, stable four-quarters of football in the same game—as well as succession—to mark his stable entry into the league, but through his leadership in the huddle, and performing under pressure (i.e. when it counts the most through two of the three pivotal wins), Andy has shown why his future his bright.
Remember, it is, after all, only five games into Dalton's professional career, while Carson Palmer was a seven-year veteran quarterback coming into this season.
Yet, with the trade deadline looming and the value of Carson Palmer—both in relation to the Bengals and football in general—being debated, there are a number of points as to why no team should inquire about Palmer now or forever as an option for the future.
Outside Ventures: A Common Theme for the Bengals During the Carson & Ochocinco Era
The first clues of Palmer's distractions came via his brother's venture into a mobile phone application called, "RunPee," which little brother Jordan focused on while older brother Carson pitched via worn apparel, as reported by the Los Angeles Times in reference to the venture's presentation during the Bengals' time on HBO's Hardknocks. .
While this is neither the time nor place to discuss the merits or shortcomings of RunPee, what is worth discussing is the similarities between off the field interests versus team-first attitude. In reference to Palmer's brotherly advertising ploy, it is worth referencing an incident in this season's training camp with regards to "unique shorts" worn by players.
When Andre Caldwell showed up in a pair of orange shorts during training camp, head coach Marvin Lewis quickly squashed needless displays of me-first attitudes while similarly referring to Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
Showing up in shorts that are not in line with the uniform of the entire team speaks volumes about the me-first attitude that pervaded last year's (and likely prior year's) teams. However, no longer is that a part of the new, youthful Bengals.
The Palmer brother's venture and wardrobe may seem like an innocent hobby, but outside interests that are recognized when between the lines, speaks resoundingly. So do not underestimate what is read between the lines.
Brotherly Love: Business is Business and Personal is Personal
In retrospect, Jordan Palmer should never have been on the Bengals in the first place. And there has never been an official acknowledgement as to why the Bengals picked up Jordan as a backup—other than being perceived as qualified. It goes to reason that Carson likely lobbied for his younger brother to come on board.
In fact, it would seem that the Bengals—specifically Bengals' owner Mike Brown—could have taken Jordan on name alone, as it was widely speculated to be the case when Don Shula's son was hired to be the head coach, as well as the most recent hiring of Jon Gruden's brother, Jay, prior to this season as offensive coordinator.
Yet, after Jordan's release from the Bengals shortly after "a source" revealed via Dennis Jansen of the Cincinnati's television station WCPO that Carson believed the Bengals were "toying" with his little brother, what was clear was the lack of regard for his former teammates in adding to off-the-field distractions.
Further, Jordan's attempt to move on to the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions was a mute point on paper—as reported via NBC's ProFootballTalk—as he lasted only two intra-day press releases on what is considered to be a team in the NFL's unofficial minor leagues.
While Carson was never known prior to bring in his personal life to suit a need for attention or comfort, calling out the Bengals during training camp in this manner and his brother's likely lingering to comfort his older brother speaks volumes as it relates to the direction Carson Palmer moved prior to this off-season, up until the present time as it relates to his own selfish needs— again with no value given to prior relationships.
Breaking the Unwritten Rule: Suck it Up
Carson did not ingratiate himself with many of his peers either. CBSSports.com was among the many referencing fellow players calling Palmer a "chump" for demanding a trade or threatening retirement; leaving everyone in limbo by not following through with his retirement threat.
By Carson's lack of action, he has undermined his credibility—and even more importantly predictability—which any employer will tell you is a basic, needed trait of any employee no matter the profession.
Leadership in Media, Friendship, and Teammate
Though it was in jest and likely nothing more to it (though there was a lot less give and take between the two later), Carson seemingly embarrassed Chad Ochocinoco when revealing a little marital squabble over his bunking up in the California casa de Palmer.
Palmer spoke about wife Shaelyn "putting her foot down" by denying former Bengal Ochocinco a place, but then Palmer took the issue public needlessly.
Maybe Palmer thought it was harmless and most saw it as nothing more but it is worth mentioning.
After a woeful 2008 in which Palmer injured his throwing arm—specifically elbow—against the New York Giants, many speculated that surgery was needed. Yet, Palmer simply rested his elbow and came back with somewhat compromised strength.
Throughout 2009 Palmer seemingly had a very effective year with emphasis going to the run, but the more one dissected Palmer's performance with the inability to create a passing game in the playoffs against the New York Jets at home that season, one had to wonder if Palmer was really back.
It was not like productivity through passing was swapped for productivity in the rushing game as the Bengals' offense produced a little over 600 less yards than 2007—Carson's last full season. The true testament from 2009 was the Bengals' defense which covered up for an under-productive offense.
Throughout Palmer's career, Carson has always been a pocket passer. One that cannot create time or plays with his feet. Palmer's' breakout year in 2005 was the season that seemingly changed everything in one moment as the playoffs saw Palmer's MCL and ACL torn and his mobility even more compromised.
The Bengals, and even more so the NFL, have shown that quarterbacks need to be able to move quickly and Palmer's size, knee, and style have not complimented the need for more dynamic quarterbacks.
In the end, what is most disconcerting is that as Palmer's season fell apart in 2010 there was an incident where unknown fans dumped trash on the Palmer's Cincinnati home's lawn. It seems that after that incident, the reference to said incident came up again via Bengals.com, again via former teammate turned blogger John Thornton's blog, and finally by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
While Palmer may have felt alienated by this incident, the ultimate alienation was each and every stakeholder—Carson's teammates, the city of Cincinnati, and finally the fans.
With eroding skills due to several key injuries coupled with Palmer's new found unpredictability off the field, it goes to reason that the only troublemakers on the Bengals were not simply TO and Ochocinco, but the venerable quarterback himself.
What is to say that it will not continue somewhere else?