Perhaps it was a Freudian slip or wholly intentional. Either way, we chuckled at Jordan Palmer's comments Wednesday about his brother Carson, who had been the Bengals' starting quarterback the last seven years before proclaiming this offseason that things were so dysfunctional in Cincinnati that if he wasn't traded he would retire.
Meeting Wednesday with the local media for the first time this spring, Jordan was asked about Carson.
“The route I’m taking is I’m focused on the Bengals and myself. I’m getting myself prepared to be the guy and if I’m not I want to get this team as prepared as they can be. I’m separating myself from what Carson is doing. He’s my brother but he’s a former teammate going a different route and I’m focusing in what is front of me.”
Hear that, Carson? Former teammate. That shot across the bow came from your own flesh and blood.
Actually, we're guessing that Jordan and Carson have discussed their NFL futures, and it's no secret among the Palmers or those with just a passing interest in football: Carson is serious when he says he'll retire if the Bengals don't trade him.
(That said, we were convinced that Carson quit midway through the 2010 season and was secretly replaced by Jordan, who was stuffed into a No. 9 jersey and assumed the starting role with predictably disastrous results. It would certainly explain Carson's steep fall-off from legit franchise quarterback to noodle-armed has-been.)
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Other than referring to Carson as a "former teammate," Jordan's comments were about what you would expect from a backup competing for a starting gig. Even in early June, during the middle of a lockout, Jordan is a long shot. The Bengals selected Andy Dalton in the second round of the 2011 draft and they sound like it will be his job to lose once the labor situation is settled. That possibility, however, hasn't changed Jordan's mindset.
“I definitely want to be the guy, I’m preparing to be the guy," Palmer said, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I’ve also told him (Dalton) that if he’s the guy it’s not because I’ve helped him out too much. It’s going to be because he’s more ready and better. When Carson came here he had Jon Kitna here to help him be a pro. I’m going to help him be a pro. I’d love to help him get there as fast as he can.”
During a normal offseason, Dalton's youth and inexperience would make Jordan the early favorite. But labor issues, and having to learn an entirely new offense (the club fired offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski after the season and hired Jay Gruden) means that everybody's behind. Veteran guard Bobbie Williams still feels sorry for the rookie.
“I don’t know. I’ll just say, God help the young man. I mean, he’s placed in a challenging position. But you know what, in this profession you’re always placed in a challenging position, it’s up to you how you (react) to it.”
If recent Bengals history is any guide, Dalton's in for a long season.
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