Q+A Carson Palmer

August 03, 2003

USC's Heisman-winning quarterback, and the top pick in this
year's draft, is now with the Bengals in Kentucky at his first
NFL training camp.

SI: Any rookie hazing?

Palmer: Actually, I've been very lucky. But training camp is
starting, and I'm going to have to get myself mentally focused
for something crazy.

SI: What's the wackiest thing you've heard a rookie quarterback
has had to endure lately?

Palmer: The Ravens make you sing a lot, and I've heard some teams
tie you up naked to the goalposts or throw you into an ice bath.

SI: This will be the first time in many years you won't be a
starting quarterback. How difficult will that be?

Palmer: It's going to be tough. I'm used to being on the field,
in the middle of the action. But I think it'll be good to learn
from the sideline and absorb as much as I can watching
[first-stringer Jon] Kitna play.

SI: Now that you're a Cincinnati guy, you need to weigh in on
Pete Rose. Does he belong in the Hall of Fame?

Palmer: Tough question, but I think he does. Whether he gambled
or not, he was one of the greatest players.

SI: Do you believe there's a Heisman Trophy jinx?

Palmer: No, I'm not worried. I'm asked about it, but people also
said there was a bowl game jinx for Heisman quarterbacks, and we
won our bowl game.

SI: Where is the Heisman right now?

Palmer: In a box, being shipped to Cincinnati.

SI: You struggled at Southern Cal before your senior season. Did
you wonder if success would come?

Palmer: I never dreamed of going to a BCS bowl, winning the
Heisman. I knew if I kept working, I'd be successful. But I never
thought that successful.

SI: On July 5 you married your college sweetheart, Shaelyn
Fernandes, at a ceremony in Pebble Beach. Anyone in the wedding
party play 18 holes afterward?

Palmer: Oh, I only wish. But my quarterbacks coach in college did
sneak out during the reception. He had a sand wedge in his car,
and I think he got a couple of holes in. --Richard Deitsch

COLOR PHOTO: JOE ROBBINS/ICON SMI (PALMER)

For more from Carson Palmer, go to si.com/scorecard.

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