Carson Bionic Palmer - By Marc Simon
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Steeler fans that watched last Monday night's pre-season game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packer were focused on one thing: Carson Palmer's left knee. Well, if one game is any indication, the knee is fine and Carson is back, big time.
In his pre-season debut, Palmer threw for 140 yards and three touchdowns in just two quarters, leading the Bengals to a 34-7 halftime lead. (Just to compare, the Steelers have scored a total of 30 points combined in three exhibition games...but who's counting?) After watching his near flawless performance, a lot of Steelers fans were saying the same thing: Yikes.
Sure it's only pre-season, and sure they were playing the defensively challenged Packers - it's going to be a long season up there on the frozen tundra-but come on. Seven months ago young Carson was going under the knife. Monday night, he was carving up the Packers.
His passes were crisp and right on the money. And he didn't just stand in the pocket. He rolled out. He jumped around. No limps. No stumbles. No grimaces.
He was like Steve Austin, the $6 Million Dollar Man, Bigger, faster, stronger. Only Carson makes more way more than $6 million. With all the incentives factored in, the worth of Palmer's current contract is about $40 million. Money like that will make you rehab like a demon, which evidently is what Carson has done.
Many of us wondered if he could take a hit. Wonder no more. He can. The Packers leveled him three times, at least once smack dab on the knee. While everyone in the stadium held their breath, he bounced up as quickly as he went down.
At one point he even scrambled for eleven yards. Everyone in the stadium, including Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was yelling, "Slide, Carson, Slide!" Kind of the opposite of "Run, Forrest, Run!" in the movie Forrest Gump.
It must be something about the AFC North that breeds tough quarterbacks. The Steelers Ben Roethisberger was, by many accounts seconds from death following his motorcycle accident in June. Lest we forget, he fractured his upper and lower jaws, broke his nose, fractured other facial bones, had multiple head lacerations, suffered a mild concussion, lost two teeth and chipped several others. He underwent seven hours of emergency surgery. Yet there he was, running his sprints on the first day of training camp and starting the first exhibition game.
It's amazing how advances in sports medicine allow athletes to come back from what used to be career-ending injuries. It would have been incredibly sad if both Big Ben and Carson's promising careers were snuffed out in one year. Fortunately, fans in both cities can look forward to a great rivalry year after year as these two rising stars go head to head. And Ben, please watch your head.
Carson and the Cincinnati Bengals come to Heinz Stadium September 24. The Steelers had better be ready. It sure looks as if he will be.