In, arguably, the most highly anticipated game of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals, the team is welcoming their ex-quarterback Carson Palmer to town. This would be the first time that the Raiders’ QB has stepped foot back into the stadium where he made his name, after making a very controversial exit just a year ago. Palmer’s return has Cincinnati fans chomping at the bit to make him feel as unwelcome as possible in their stadium.
It is no wonder either. At the end of the 2010-2011 football season, Palmer demanded a trade from Mike Brown and the Bengals organization. To put an exclamation point on the request, he threatened that if he was not traded, he would enter in to retirement. The bottom line was that Carson Palmer was leaving the city that had embraced him for eight years for greener pastures and if he didn’t get his way via a shiny new town, he was willing to quit. Quit on the team and quit on the fans.
At least that is how the Bengals faithful see it. Carson Palmer is a quitter. Then, after an uncertain offseason leading into the 2011 season for the Bengals and the NFL, the team picked up a new red-headed quarterback from TCU. Though, Andy Dalton was supposed to be the promise of a new tomorrow, in the back of everyone’s mind was the question: Would Palmer really go through with his threat or was he just trying to get the upper office to react?
As the season began, it became clear that Carson Palmer was serious. He wasn’t coming back, and it was now Mike Brown’s move. Fans began to change their focus, though. That new quarterback the team drafted in the second round was suddenly turning heads all over the NFL and number nine was becoming nothing but a memory; a memory that had become tainted with disdain.
Now, just like that ex that you caught cheating after eight years of up and downs, the Bengals’ ex-quarterback is rearing his ugly head in the Queen City. This time when he runs out of the tunnel, though, it will be on the other end of the field. Instead of cheers and jubilation, the fans will turn their backs and boo. Just like that ex, he is not welcome on Cincinnati’s turf.
For the first time since he placed his demand, Carson Palmer will return to Cincinnati and for the first time he will face his old team and their new quarterback. In reports from various sources, current Bengals’ team members say that they aren’t thinking revenge. However, fans are looking for just that. So can the Bengals answer the call?
As the famous saying goes, “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”