Carson Palmer (born December 27, 1979 in Laguna Niguel, California,) is an American football quarterback who plays for the National Football League's Oakland Raiders franchise. After going to high school at Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), Palmer attended the University of Southern California, where he won the Heisman Trophy Award in 2002 in his senior season. Palmer was drafted as the number 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003.
He played for the Cincinnati Bengals for the first 8 years of his career before opting for retirement when his trade demands were not met by Bengals ownership. Following a season ending injury in 2011 to Raiders starting quarterback Jason Campbell, a trade for Palmer was completed.
Most people believe that 2005 was Carson Palmer's best year, as he threw for 3836 yards, tossed 32 TDs and put up a 101.1 passer rating.
Carson Palmer's younger brother, Jordan Palmer, is a senior quarterback at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Carson and his wife Shaelyn established the Carson Palmer Foundation in 2004, with the mission of supporting children’s charities in both his hometown community and his NFL home city.
Palmer attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School, where he passed for 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions as a senior. By the time he left high school, he had set 27 school records. He was also an excellent basketball player, and was named to the Student Sports Grid-Hoops All-America second team after averaging ten points and eight rebounds per game.
Carson Palmer arrived at the University of Southern California in 1998 and immediately competed for the starting quarterback job with Mike Van Raaphorst. Van Raaphorst won, but due to his ineffectiveness, Palmer was named the starter in the ninth game of the season, becoming only the second true freshman to ever start at quarterback for the USC Trojans.
After three inconsistent years at USC, Palmer had a breakout senior year under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who was brought in the year before by head coach Pete Carroll after spending 27 seasons at Brigham Young University and one season at North Carolina State University. Chow was able to bring the best out of Carson Palmer and the USC offense, which led to Palmer being named the Heisman Trophy Award winner, then the fifth Trojan to win the prestigious award — running backs Mike Garrett (1965), O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979), and Marcus Allen (1981) preceded him. Palmer was the first and only Trojan quarterback to be honored with the award until lefty Matt Leinart won it as a junior in 2004.
Carson Palmer completed 309 passes for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions during the 2002 season, and later led the Trojans to an impressive 38-17 victory over the University of Iowa in the Orange Bowl. His completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns were all USC single season records. In a November 30 game against Notre Dame, Palmer threw for 425 yards and led his team to 610 yards of total offense, the most ever gained against Notre Dame in each category. Palmer left college as the Pac-10 Conferences’ all-time leader in passing yards (11,818), completions (927) and total offense (11,621), along with 72 career touchdown passes, a USC record at that time — Matt Leinart has since surpassed the record, which currently stands at 99.
His major at USC was public policy and management at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Carson Palmer did not play at all during his rookie season; veteran quarterback Jon Kitna, who signed with the Bengals as an unrestricted free agent in 2001, took every snap during the 2003 season. For his efforts, Jon Kitna was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Palmer, with Kitna mentoring him, watched and learned during games and in practices under head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese.
Carson Palmer was the 1st overall pick in 2003 by the Bengals. Even though the Bengals finished 8-8, their first non-losing season since 1996, Jon Kitna arguably knew that the Bengals were Carson Palmer's team in 2004. By and large, it was not viewed as a surprise when head coach Marvin Lewis named Palmer his starting quarterback in January, 2004.
While Carson Palmer suffered from growing pains, he passed for 2,897 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions in 13 games, and the Bengals again finished 8-8. His performance greatly improved the stature of the Cincinnati Bengals among pundits and fans alike. One of his more notable performances was in a December game against the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore built up a 20-3 lead going into the final period, but Palmer rallied his team back with 3 fourth quarter touchdown passes to take a 24-23 lead. After the Ravens retook the lead with a field goal, Palmer led the Bengals 60 yards in 8 plays to set up Shayne Graham's game-winning field goal as time in regulation expired. Palmer finished the game with 29 of 36 (80.6%) completions for 381 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the fourth quarter alone, he completed 10 of 13 passes for 200 yards, and two of his incompletions were spikes during the final drive to stop the clock.
Off the field, Palmer and Jon Kitna are best friends and golfing buddies. In 2004, Palmer organized the Carson Palmer Foundation Golf Classic to raise funds for Hillview Acres, a shelter for abused and underprivileged children.
In 2005, Palmer's breakout season, Palmer led the Bengals to an 11-5 record and an AFC North division title, their first division title since 1990. In doing so, Carson Palmer became the first Bengals quarterback to finish with a 100+ passer rating, tied Indianapolis' Peyton Manning for most consecutive games with a triple digit passer rating, led the NFL in completion percentage, and set a Bengals franchise record by throwing a league-leading 32 touchdown passes. He also set the franchise record for highest passer rating in a season. His 3,836 yards was 4th in the league.
On December 21, 2005, Carson Palmer was one of five Bengals voted to the 2006 Pro Bowl game. The others were Willie Anderson, Shayne Graham, Chad Johnson, and Deltha O'Neal. This would have been Palmer's first Pro Bowl appearance, but he did not play in it due to a severe knee injury that was inflicted upon him in the wild card round of the 2005 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cincinnati on January 8, 2006. On the Bengals' second offensive play, Palmer launched a 66-yard completion — the longest in Bengals' playoff history — to receiver Chris Henry while Steelers defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen tried to sack him. During the play Von Oelhoffen collided with Palmer's rigid left leg at the knee, bending it at an awkward angle. Palmer had to be taken off the field on a cart. A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed tears of both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments as well as cartilage and meniscus damage.
No penalty was called on von Oelhoffen because his path to Palmer was judged to have been altered by Steinbach.
Von Oelhoffen later claimed to apologize for the hit, and even though Palmer has confirmed that Von Oelhoffen has never contacted him, Palmer forgave him, stating that the injury was, "just part of the game." Von Oelhoffen's contract was not renewed by the Steelers following the season and he was subsequently released as a free agent, signing with the New York Jets.
During the off-season, the NFL Rules Committee modified the rule regarding low hits on quarterbacks, prohibiting defenders from hitting a passer at or below the knee unless they are blocked into him. Injuries to Palmer, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese (now with the Chicago Bears) were cited as reasons for the new rule. The so-called "Kimo Rule", also known as the "Carson Palmer Rule",  now requires that defenders take every opportunity to avoid hitting a quarterback at or below the knees when the quarterback is in a defenseless position looking to throw with both feet on the ground. 
Rehabilitation and comments
Carson Palmer underwent reconstructive surgery on his injured knee in Houston, Texas on January 10, 2006. Dr. Lonnie Paulos, a surgeon who is independent of the Cincinnati Bengals, performed the operation. Initially, the Bengals organization stated that Palmer had torn the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments with no other damage. However, Dr. Paulos later told the Associated Press that the damage was more extensive and included a dislocation of the kneecap. Dr. Paulos called the injury "devastating and potentially career-ending", which drew a derisive comment from Palmer that implied Paulos simply liked to see his name in print. The Bengals later accepted Dr. Paulos' account , however, Carson Palmer promised he'd be at quarterback in the Bengals' regular season opener at Kansas City on September 10, 2006.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis stated: “This is a serious injury, but we are told the procedure went very well. We know Carson, and we know he will apply himself fully to his rehabilitation. This result encourages our feeling that Carson will be ready to open the 2006 season as our starting quarterback” .
During his rehabilitation, Carson Palmer has made several other pointed comments, particularly in an issue of Sports Illustrated , in which he was on the cover shown using a relatively new form of therapy called the HydroWorx . In the article, Palmer stated that: “I hate the Steelers more than I hate UCLA” However, he cautioned that the animosity is not directed at the individual players; it was borne from the historic Bengals/Steelers rivalry. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is, in fact, Palmer's friend and former USC roommate.
After the Bengals' 48-17 pre-season victory over the visiting Green Bay Packers on August 28, 2006, which saw Carson Palmer complete 9 of 14 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns in just less than two quarters of play in his much-expected debut (which included an 11-yard run for a first down that culminated in a slide on his surgically-repaired left knee,) Carson Palmer reiterated his position that he would be starting in the Bengals' season opener at Kansas City.
His performance drew rave reviews from many experts, many of whom expected far less of him less than a year after such a serious injury. ESPN announcer Joe Theismann, himself a former quarterback with the Washington Redskins, praised Carson Palmer for his mental toughness in taking hits and not being gun-shy about staying in the pocket where chances of injury are often high.
The 2006 Season
Palmer ended up starting in all 16 of the Bengals regular season games, only missing one snap due to injury all year. Despite his previous injury, he passed the 4,000 yard mark for the first time in his career, finishing the season with a franchise record 4,035 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, only 13 interceptions and 93.9 rating. He also made the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row, becoming the first Bengals quarterback to do this since Boomer Esiason in 1988 and 1989. However, his team was much less successful then in the previous season, slipping from an 11-5 record to 8-8 and failing to make the playoffs. Palmer placed 3rd in voting for NFL Comeback Player of the year, behind Drew Brees, and Chad Pennington.
- Carson Palmer's Official Website
- Carson Palmer's Official Blog
- Template:Espn nfl
- Carson Palmer's page at Bengals.com
- Carson Palmer's page at NFL Players.com
- Carson Palmer fantasy news and stats from Sandbox Fantasy News
- More Current Stats
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Fumble Recovery Stats
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- Won the Heisman Trophy Winner in 2002
- Won the Pro Bowl MVP in 2006