Getty Images

Can A Cincinnati Bengal Be Brightest Of The Brightest Stars At 2016 Pro Bowl?

History says, yes. Although Carson Palmer said no to this year's Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

The next Bengals Pro Bowl MVP will be the team's second to be honored. The man who owns the distinction of being the one and only star among stars is still around, although not in Cincinnati. And he's not playing in this year's game in Hawaii, although he earned the trip.

We're talking about Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, MVP of the Pro Bowl nine years ago as a member of the Bengals. The 2007 MVP will miss this year's contest, played Sunday at 7 p.m. ET at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. He's deferring to a dislocated index finger on his right throwing hard suffered in late December against the Eagles.

“I’m going to let my hand heal up,” he told local media at the top of the week, adding the injury doesn't require surgery. He played in pain the Cardinals' final two games, with Super Bowl aspirations.

The Pro Bowl?

Been there, done that.

When Palmer was chosen for the 2007 Pro Bowl (following a 2006 selection) the former USC Trojan became the first Cincinnati quarterback to earn the honor since Boomer Esiason did so in 1988 and 1989.

Palmer won MVP honors after guiding the AFC on a go-ahead scoring drive in the final two minutes of the 2007 contest. The AFC won on a late field goal, and the Fresno, California native put up a 127.1 passer rating. He threw for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one for 72 yards and another for 42 to Bengals teammate Chad Johnson.

After winning the MVP, Palmer said, "This is a huge honor and extremely exciting and I feel very blessed just to be here, let alone for the outcome to be this. But my goal's to be in a Super Bowl. And to win a Super Bowl. That's where my mind's at, and after this week I'm going to start focusing on that again."

The one-time Heisman Trophy-winning No. 1 draft pick has won just about every award at the NFL level, including three AFC/NFL player of the week awards, 2005 AFC Player of the Year, the 2006 Ed Block Courage Award, and both the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year and Pro Football Focus NFL MVP in 2015. In 2013, he became the first quarterback in league history with at least 4,000 yards passing for three different teams.

Palmer, however, still is looking for the one piece of hardware that has eluded him thus far -- the Lombardi Trophy. The Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason in a rout by the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship, making the quarterback eligible to play in the annual NFL all-star game after he was voted in by fans, coaches and players. But, he's opting out.

He left Cincinnati in acrimonious fashion, after demanding to be traded, supposedly at the behest of his spouse, following the 2010 season. He spent two years in Oakland, and recently finished his third season for Arizona in 2015, while living in a location much closer to where Palmer and his wife grew up. Before the family left a posh address in Cincinnati, things between Palmer and disenchanted Bengals fans deteriorated to the point that people were dumping garbage on the lawn of the Palmer's property. Not along after, Palmer was asking to be dealt in the office of Bengals owner Mike Brown, who at first refused to trade him.

Meanwhile, there are seven Bengals at the Pro Bowl with a chance to join Palmer on a very exclusive list where only the brightest of the brightest-shining stars need apply. They are defensive tackle Geno Atkins, tight end Tyler Eifert, wide receiver A.J. Green, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, cornerback Adam Jones and special teams ace Cedric Peerman, the last three named as alternates.


Bengals Insider Top Stories