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Carson Palmer wakes to fresh start in Oakland

According to Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, he went to sleep the eve of the trade deadline as a retired player and woke as a Raider. And since 31 years old is not exactly the retirement age for an NFL quarterback, he couldn’t be more happy to get his fresh start.

“I went to bed at 10:30 a retired football player and got a text message at 4 a.m. and was told to get on a plane to Oakland. So, it’s been a whirlwind, and I understand what’s expected of me. I have played in this league for eight  years, I know what it’s about. I know what playing quarterback is about, and it’s about winning.

“It was time to move on. Simply put it was time for them to move on, it was time for me to move on, and I’m just happy and thankful that the Bengals organization made that decision also and ended up getting this trade done.”

Palmer potentially brings a level of quarterback play the Raiders haven’t seen in nearly a decade when All Pro quarterback Rich Gannon lined up behind center. Palmer is a former Pro Bowler who in his seven full seasons in the NFL threw for over 3000 yards in all but one of them, threw for over 4000 yards twice, and made the Pro Bowl twice (’05, ’06).

In Monday’s press conference, Hue Jackson made no bones about this team’s intentions in finding a quarterback.

“We’re chasing a championship here,” said Hue. “That’s the commitment I’ve made to the organization then I gotta make sure that we’re putting championship players out there.”

Palmer was the one name out there that could closely fit that description. But up until the deal was struck, it seemed there was no way any team could loosen the grip that Bengals owner Mike Brown had on the retired quarterback–until former Bengals wide receiver coach Hue Jackson was on the other line.

“I have so much respect for Mike [Brown],” said Hue. “Having worked there with him, been in drafts with him, coached some of his best players with him in that organization, and I think he has respect for this organization and Coach Davis. I think the respect was mutual and he said so. He said ‘Hue, I like you and I want to see you do well and I want to see Carson do well. And I want us to do well’ — being the Bengals. So I think at the end of the day I think it was a fit for everybody and I think it worked out in everybody’s behalf.”

Jackson would not reveal if Palmer would be inserted as the starter for this week’s home game versus the Chiefs. This is expected both for the sake of not giving the Chiefs the ability to gameplan against either the presumed starter Kyle Boller or the newly acquired Palmer as well as for the sake of ticket sales.

Carson claims he is physically ready to play although being in game shape may be a different issue.

“It’s gonna take some time. I think the only way you can get in football shape is by playing football… I’m going to do everything on my end, everything I can, to get it down as quickly as possible. Fortunately, some of the stuff they’ve been doing is something I’ve been quite familiar with and have been doing myself… whenever they need me. I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to learn as fast as I can, and when they want me to contribute I’ll be ready.”

Some have speculated that if Al Davis were alive, this trade would not have happened, that he would not have sent a first round pick and a conditional first rounder to the Bengals in trade. Hue says that is not the case. In fact he says that Palmer is just Al’s type of guy.

“One thing I know about Coach [Davis]: he loved tall, athletic quarterbacks from USC, that’s for sure. One thing he loves is guys who throw the ball down the field, and this man can. I think he’d be very excited, very happy. His son’s very happy and very excited. That told me what Coach might have felt too. Mark is very excited about us adding Carson to this football team.”

Al Davis definitely liked his USC players and he liked his big armed quarterbacks. Palmer has taken the number 3 which he wore while at USC. It is also the number that Daryle “Mad Bomber” Lamonica wore during his time with the Raiders. And like Lamonica, Palmer grew up in the California Central Valley.

The Raiders got their guy, that’s for sure. It is a trade that Hue calls “the greatest trade in football.” When asked what the second greatest trade was, he ended with the quip, “I’ll let you know when we make it.”

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