Carson Palmer was part of the problem, and now he wants out. Terrific. So in addition to his reconstructed knee, obvious arm issues and passive form of leadership, we can add quitter to his list of issues.
Contrary to what many think, Palmer was never an innocent victim of Bengal-dom. He was part of the problem, the one player with enough clout -- right position, right salary, right reputation -- to reign in the malcontents in his own huddle. Me-first receivers like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, and then Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, ran roughshod in that locker room because, in part, Palmer let them.
Yes, sure, coach Marvin Lewis let them, too. Lewis is a weak, weak head coach. Maybe he would be a good coach, with the right chemistry, but with Mike Brown turning the Bengals into the Island of Misfit Toys, Lewis was the wrong coach. Cincinnati needed a bad cop. Instead it got that chuckling softy, Marvin Lewis.
But it also got Carson Palmer, exerting none of his influence, diminishing his own power to the point that he was the team's most expensive player, most important player, maybe even its most talented player -- but he was just another guy in that locker room. No more influential than anyone else.
Palmer was so mentally weak that, as his injuries mounted and his numbers started to decline, the Bengals brought in the most harmless backup quarterback in the history of the NFL -- the starter's little brother. With Jordan Palmer as the No. 2, there was never a question who would be No. 1. Carson never had to worry. Never had to compete.
His production kept sliding. His impact in the locker room kept receding. He never said a harsh word about the idiots around him, his silence setting free Ochocinco and Houshmandzadeh and Owens.
Now he wants out? Really? Palmer doesn't deserve a fresh start. He helped steer this team into the iceberg, so he can go down with the ship. Or he can do the most Carson Palmer-like maneuver imaginable and quit.