The two sides of Carson Palmer

Winning a Heisman Trophy ... being selected No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals ... two torn ACL injuries ... you name it and Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer has lived through it - both the good and the bad.

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer has been through a lot.

The Good

Winning a Heisman Trophy, being selected No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals … getting a legitimate second chance with the Cardinals under Bruce Arians and Tom Moore.

The Bad

Two torn ACL injuries … flaming out as a former No. 1 overall draft pick with the Bengals … playing in exile with the Oakland Raiders.

You name it and Palmer has probably lived through it – or rather suffered through it. But while it’s easy to feel sorry for Palmer given the bad outcomes he’s experienced, he’s had some good fortune as well.

Palmer, now entering his 13th NFL season has reached a turning point in his career. Sure, he’s already been through several turning points but this one will determine his true legacy as a football player.

Palmer has helped rejuvenate his own career but also a Cardinals franchise that was stuck in neutral – even headed in reverse – following a handful of successful seasons under former coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Now, Palmer and Arizona are looking to reach the postseason for the second straight season and will look to finish what they started last year before Palmer suffered a season-ending injury.

Things have certainly changed in the desert as the “doom and gloom” attitudes are gone and the Arizona faithful are squarely behind both their team and Palmer.

It hasn’t always been that way for Palmer.

It was for a while in Cincinnati, but things eventually turned sour – really sour. The whole thing ended with Palmer threatening to retire and the Bengals refusing to trade him – until they did, eventually to the Raiders.

Palmer’s time in Oakland can easily be overlooked but we’re guessing that his brief stint with the Raiders makes him appreciate what he’s found in Arizona even more.

What he’s found is a tremendous coach (Bruce Arians), a true quarterback whisperer (Tom Moore) and a general manager (Steve Keim) who seems to make all the right moves.

As a shock to many of the long-term Arizona faithful, the Cardinals have morphed into an extremely well run organization under team president Michael Bidwell.

It wasn’t always that way … it was never that way.

So while Palmer’s timing hasn’t always been great, it’s been impeccable in Arizona.

But lets revisit Palmer’s pending legacy and what that means for both him and the Cardinals.

Health permitting, Palmer could have three or four good years left in him. Arizona has a roster assembled to last and be relevant for the duration of his career.

But Palmer and the team must break through, soon.

This is a critical season in Arizona, but it’s arguably even more critical for Palmer. Palmer has been put back into a position to succeed and has the weapons around him to excel.

Now, it’s time for Palmer to choose whether we’ll see the “good” or the “bad” of Palmer and that outcome will stick with him and his football legacy for the rest of his life.


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