No Hard Feelings Carson, But We Like Our New Red Head Just Fine

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Today the Bengals made headlines twice; once as a player had his suspension reduced, the other as Mike Brown pulled off a stunningly, brilliantly one-sided trade to help the team. In other breaking news, Marvin Lewis will be actually answering a question at a press conference, Nicholas Cage filmed a movie I’d be interested in watching, a Kardashian sister started a relationship with somebody who doesn’t play in the NBA, and Robert Pattinson finally found the cure for cancer that he’s been working on for several months.

Farewell then, Carson Palmer. Who would have thought this would work out best for all of us? OK, so Mrs. Palmer may well have been thinking of somewhere a little more, well, beachy when she asked for California, but some quick research on my part reveals that Oakland is number one in the country for usage of electricity from renewable sources and the homicide rate isn’t quite as bad as last year (though still near the top of the pile, person-to-murder wise. Thanks wikipedia!).

Anyway, the Palmers head out West where the notoriously docile and placid Raiders fans ensure against having trash-filled lawns or booing. I wish him well. As with Chad, I would like to see them get a playoff win or two, if for no other reason than to vindicate my belief during the late 2000s that both were elite players at their positions and that I, as a Bengals fan, was in a special position to be watching them. I will also feel an on-going sense of gratitude, whatever the (possibly never to be explained) circumstances of his departure, for—to take one example—the last minute game-winning drive against the Steelers in 2009, possibly my favourite football memory. There will, when watching him in black and silver, linger the immortal “what if?” from that other play against the Steelers, this time in 2005, from which, ultimately, he seemed to never fully recover.

However, perhaps my best wishes for Carson come from an unlikely source: that wiliest of coyotes, Mike Brown. Quite how he finagled two first round picks for a QB who hadn’t played in a year, and lost three out of every four even then, I have no idea. Quite how he swallowed his pride as never before (though the sweetness of the deal no doubt helped the medicine go down) is also a mystery. But with this trade, the Bengals confirmed their commitment to the future. Andy Dalton’s play undoubtedly made this trade all the more spectacular. The Ginger Ninja’s connection with A.J. Green not only provides Bengals fans with levels of excitement not felt since, well, a certain other red-headed quarterback and athletically gifted wide receiver appeared on the scene in 2002, but moreover gives fans a reason to believe the six picks from the first two rounds of 2012 and 2013 could provide the talent to create a stellar O-line, an explosive running game, and a game-changing secondary. The emergence of Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga only strengthens this belief.

So no maliciousness. I won’t be hoping a rogue linebacker breaks his knee. I hope Carson Palmer and Oakland are a great fit (with Hue Jackson at the helm they should be). I hope he even gets a playoff win or two under his belt. And, if we use our smorgasbord of picks wisely, as I believe we will, I hope we get them in the playoffs. And then I hope our Ginger kicks the #%& out of theirs.

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