CINCINNATI - A day after rumors started to fly that Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer wanted out of Cincinnati, Bengals owner Mike Brown has confirmed that the former number one pick has indeed requested a trade.
Brown said Monday that Palmer has approached the organization about parting ways, but according to Brown, the team is not in a position to trade the former Heisman Trophy winner who has helped lead the team to two winning records in the past 20 years. Brown made the comments from Mobile, Ala. where the Bengals are coaching players for the upcoming Senior Bowl.
The team's Twitter page released the following statement from David Dunn, Palmer's agent: "Carson met with Bengals owner Mike Brown recently. They both expressed profound disappointment in how the team fared last season, and in how it has generally performed during Carson's tenure with the team. Because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together, Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties. Carson could not respect the Brown family any more than he does or be more appreciative of what the Browns have done for him and his wife Shaelyn and his family."
Brown said they are not trading Palmer after he requested the move last week. Brown also said that former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress would not be coming to Cincinnati to serve as the team's offensive coordinator. Speculation grew about Childress coming to the Bengals after he had dinner with Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati last week.
Chris Mortensen from ESPN reported Sunday that Palmer wants out of Cincinnati so bad that he would consider retiring because he is financially secure enough.
Palmer was in a reflective rather than combative mood after the team's 4-12 finish. Unfortunately, Palmer is familiar with the feeling of looking back on a losing season, during which he took a physical as well as mental thrashing. His mood we were told was one of resignation as he told a Channel 9 Sports source that he'd had enough.
Quoting now,"I'm going to do whatever I can to get out of here". At that time, two weeks ago, retirement wasn't mentioned as an option but it seems his level of frustration has deepened since he expressed those feelings. None of the vows to change the culture made by Brown and Lewis have been undertaken at least to his satisfaction. Hence ESPN's report that he is willing to step away from the game, to get away from the Bengals.
9 News sat down with former Bengal offensive lineman and current broadcaster Dave Lapham on Monday.
"If I were a teammate, I'd be thinking, 'This is our leader, and if he's not bought in, where are we?'" There's a lot of work to be done, a lot of damage control, for sure," said Lapham. "I'd like to see the Bengals organization have a better run of success, that's for sure. To me, he looked tired all season long, as tired as you can be physically, mentally, emotionally. I think the last straw was when people were throwing garbage on his property, stuff like that; probably making it difficult on his twins and his wife."
Palmer is due to make over $11 million in 2011, which would make him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. If Palmer opted for the retirement route, he would be leaving almost $50 million on the table.
"That'd be a big statement if he retired, that's for sure," added Lapham. "I think it's a lot of frustration that's built up. It's not an overnight decision with Carson Palmer. It's something he's been thinking about a long time because he's not a snap decision kind of guy."
If the Bengals were to trade him, another team would have to pick up his contract and with the labor dispute between owners and players and a possible work stoppage pending, it doesn't seem likely.
Palmer is not the first Bengal in recent memory to request a trade. Chad Ochocinco asked the team to trade him a few years ago, but his bid to play with a different team was unsuccessful.
Ochocinco posted the following message on Twitter on Sunday: "Carson Palmer demands a trade? Last person demanded a trade in Cincy was crucified by the media n had to win the fans back,how will this go?"
"I hear Paul Brown say it many times: don't move a coach or a player unless you have somebody that can do at least that good of a job, or better," said Lapham. "Carson's not a guy who makes rash statements, rash decisions. Everything's thought out. He's not looking for media splash or anything like that."
So if the team does indeed refuse to trade Palmer and he does return to Cincinnati, will he be throwing to Ochocinco? One of the Bengals all-time leading receivers is under contract for 2011 but has expressed interest this offseason in playing for the
New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders.
The 31-year-old Palmer is coming off a season that saw him tie a career high with 20 interceptions. He played well at times and threw 26 touchdowns with 3,970 yards which was his third highest, but many fans feel it's time for both sides to move on. Many people who want the team to move on will point to zero playoff wins and a declining skill set by Palmer. Those who want him to stay in Cincinnati say he is not the problem and that the issues surrounding this team are more than one player.
The defending AFC North champions had a very disappointing 2010 season that, according to many people, began when they lost their identity. The team used a strong running game and a stingy defense en route to a division championship in 2009. The organization then added Terrell Owens via free agency and other offensive weapons and got away from the running game.
Marvin Lewis, whose contract expired after the season, re-signed with the team earlier this month. A press conference by Lewis and Brown left many people scratching their heads, maybe Palmer was one of them. Fans were told changes would be made, but so far, all indications are that the team will take the field in 2011 with the same coaching staff intact.
This is just another issue the organization will have to deal with this offseason. They have several free agents they need to address as well as a potential dwindling fan base at Paul Brown Stadium that is demanding change.
The team does hold the 4th overall pick in April's NFL draft and will have a nice stable of talent to choose from. With Andrew Luck deciding to return to Stanford for his senior season, that leaves Missouri's Blaine Gabbert as the top-rated quarterback in the draft. Cam Newton is another name being thrown around by some Bengals fans but many scouts do not feel the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner is worthy of that high of a pick. It's highly unlikely the Bengals would use their first pick on a quarterback, unless Brown stays true to his word and Palmer does the same.
So what should the Bengals do with Carson Palmer? Do you blame him for wanting to move on? Let us know by voting in our poll or leaving a comment in the section below or on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WCPOnetworks?ref=ts
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for the latest on this developing story.