Carson Palmer, the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback who played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2003 until he was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2011, announced his retirement from football on Tuesday in a letter he wrote that was shared by the Cardinals via Twitter.
“Over the years, I’ve had teammates who decided to hang it up and I would ask them how they knew when it was time to walk away,” the letter began. “The answer was almost always the same: You just know. For me, it is time now. Why? Quite simply, I just know.”
Standing 6-foot-5 with a remarkably strong arm, Palmer was a Heisman Trophy winner at USC and the No. 1-overall pick by Cincinnati in 2002. He threw for 46,247 yards, 12th-most in NFL history, in a career with the Bengals, Oakland and Arizona.
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“When I entered the league, I was a 23-year-old kid,” Palmer wrote. “I’m leaving a 38-year-old husband and father of four with memories and experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. And like most things in life, it feels like it all passed in a blink of an eye.”
Acquired by the Cardinals for only a sixth-round pick and a swap of seventh-rounders, Palmer’s strong arm was a great fit for Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” big-play passing game.
Palmer, with a career 62.5 percent completion rate, leaves as the only quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season with three teams. He did it twice for Cincinnati, once for Oakland and three times with Arizona.
Palmer spent seven years with the Bengals, leaving in a dispute with owner Mike Brown that led him to hold out to start the 2011 season, saying he would retire if he wasn’t traded.
He eventually was dealt to Oakland for considerable compensation — a first-round draft pick in 2012 and second-rounder in 2013. Palmer started nine games for the Raiders that season. He put up big numbers with the Raiders but there was little success in wins and losses. Oakland eventually deemed him expendable and sent him to Arizona without much in return.
In addition to the two ACL injuries and this season’s broken arm, Palmer also was limited to four games in 2004 with an elbow injury and missed time with a concussion and shoulder injury in Arizona.
Still, Palmer said he would “especially miss the grind” of being an NFL player.