CINCINNATI - If Cincinnati Bengals fans hoped owner Mike Brown would change his stance on Carson Palmer, Brown all but extinguished those hopes on Tuesday.
The Bengals owner said during the team's annual luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium that he will not satisfy Palmer's request for a trade.
"I honestly like Carson Palmer. He was a splendid player for us. He is a good person. I wish him well. He is retired. That was his choice," Brown said. "I'm not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave his word. We relied on his word. If he is going to walk away from his commitment, we aren't going to reward it."
Brown said they will look to sign a veteran quarterback in free agency, but the team plans to move ahead with second round pick Andy Dalton as the starter.
"I think you'll find him attractive as a person and a player," Brown said. He may have "teething problems" but the team is going to "put him in there."
Brown was joined by head coach Marvin Lewis who said the team will hold its first practice in Georgetown, Ky. on Saturday, two days later than originally planned. Players will report for physicals on Thursday and Friday at Paul Brown Stadium before heading to training camp.
Lewis said the team has already started the process of signing college free agents Monday night and that "about a dozen or so" have committed so far. Teams cannot sign their own players or other free agents until Friday.
Lewis said the team is planning on going forward as if Palmer is retired and that he expects wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to report to camp. He also said players will have more "classroom work."
These were the first public comments by the organization since the 4 1/2 month long lockout was lifted on Monday.
"This was the longest work stoppage the NFL has ever had." Not the most confrontational," said Brown. He said this lockout was different than ones in the past. "I can remember things the players did. Range from foolish to malicious."
"I can remember back when we had players marching around with picket signs, saying 'we are the game. They weren't the game, they were part of the game,'" Brown added.
Brown said the game involves a number of things, including the fans and the media. "It takes all of us to put on a NFL game."
"We know we've lost some fans with all this." Brown said football fans "want to see people concerned about football, concerned about the Bengals, concerned about them."
Lewis reiterated Brown's statements on the lockout and said "how we do things will change."
When asked by Channel 9 sports anchor Dennis Janson about the Bengals being ranked dead last as the worst franchise in professional sports, Brown said the article was a "slam piece."
"When you don't win games you hear, and we heard," Brown said. "We have to do better. In any way we can imagine."
The Bengals owner said "we got our hands slapped. We were bad. I plead guilty."
Brown also addressed the Wall Street Journal report that said the Bengals stadium deal was one of the worst in the history of professional sports.
"I don't agree with their rendition of the facts. This stadium, if you're interested in ancient history, cost around $350 million," said Brown. The cost of the stadium was on par with those in Cleveland and Jacksonville, according to Brown.
Brown said any cost overruns were absorbed by the organization or the project was scaled back. He added that local politicians spent that money on The Banks, Fort Washington Way and local schools.
"I'm for the schools, I'm for The Banks, I'm for Fort Washington Way, but don't blame us," Brown said.
Brown said the article contained a lot of misinformation and "it's complex." He said this has been the "same story for 15 years, and it keeps getting stranger and stranger."
Brown also addressed stadium concerns fans expressed with Joe Reedy from the Enquirer.
"We have a beer garden. We have a fan section where there's no drinking. I don't know what to tell you. We've had 2,500 suggestions for music at the games. We could play them all, it may take 30 years." He added that fans won't care what type of music is playing if the team is winning.
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