Carson Palmer: 'Everybody' Believed He Should Avoid the Bengals Before 2003 NFL Draft

Carson Palmer wanted to go to Cincinnati and change the Bengals' culture.
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CINCINNATI — Carson Palmer's run with the Bengals didn't end well. The former No. 1 overall pick forced his way out of town following the 2010 season.

Some people believe Palmer was right to demand a trade. Others think he ran from issues that he could've helped solve had he stayed in Cincinnati. 

It turns out, countless NFL agents told him to avoid being drafted by the Bengals in 2003. 

"Everybody told me that. Every agent I interviewed, before I walked into the interview, already had a route to avoid the Bengals," Palmer said on the Ryen Russillo podcast. "I was told 'don't go there. It's a quarterback graveyard. Your career will not be what it could've been if you end up there.' And so I being young and naive was like 'no, I'm going to go there and change it. And change their success. Change how the organization does things.' Obviously they haven't been doing things correctly for a long time. I thought I was the change of that and it took me nine years to realize that it wasn't. When I was coming out I don't think there was one person outside of my agent that I ended up hiring who he did not have a plan. He said 'what do you want?' in my first meeting with him.

"The agent I hired Dave Dunn with Athletes First, the first thing he said is 'what do you wanna do?' I said 'I wanna go to the Bengals.' Again, I was young and naive and there was a lot of really calculated, cool moves that everybody else I interviewed had already been working on."

Cincinnati had the first pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Palmer was the obvious choice, but agents across the league had a plan to get him to another organization.

"The best one was Chicago. I had multiple agents maneuvering me from the first pick with the Bengals down to the fourth pick with Chicago," Palmer said. "And one guy was like 'here's what we're going to do, you're going to totally go up and blow up your pro day. You're gonna throw a bunch of dinks that don't even spiral into the dirt.' 

"That meeting ended really quickly. That pro day was an opportunity to go out and display my abilities and my skills. I wasn't about to go out and tank and sandbag because that was an opportunity for me to start the process of proving myself."

Plenty of Bengals fans haven't forgiven Palmer for what he did, but things worked out. Cincinnati traded him for two picks that ultimately became Dre Kirkpatrick and Giovani Bernard. 

Cincinnati made five straight playoff appearances following his departure and Palmer helped the Cardinals reach the NFC Title Game. 

Listen to Russillo's entire conversation with Palmer below. 

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