All the way back in 2003, a 23 year-old kid from Fresno, CA heard his name called at the podium. Carson Palmer had done it — not only did he fulfill a dream to make it to the NFL, but Palmer was drafted as the number one overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a moment that solidified his stature in sports history.
Palmer has always handled himself well and been a humble man. Dating back to his high school days, Palmer always did just fine under a spotlight. As a freshman at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, Palmer was such a superstar that the school’s varsity team would often take a break in the middle of their practices just to watch him throw. Needless to say, the pressure of being the number one pick in the draft was something he was prepared to conquer.
One of his best seasons as a pro wound up being his second year in 2005, where he had the pleasure of throwing to Chad Johnson on his way to over 3,800 yards passing with 32 touchdowns and a 67.8 completion percentage. It was also the year where the Bengals broke a 15 year streak of missing the playoffs.
A decade later, Palmer had his best season yet, while teamed up with the ageless Larry Fitzgerald on the Arizona Cardinals. It was Palmer’s third season with the team after his 2014 season was cut short due to injury. He ended 2015 with nearly 4,700 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and a rating of 104.6. He and Fitzgerald proved that age was merely just a number as they both enjoyed fantastic numbers that season.
Now, a couple seasons removed from his pinnacle, Palmer has decided to hang up the cleats for good as he announced his retirement via an open letter to the fans earlier this week.
“For 15 years I have been lucky enough to play quarterback in the NFL,” he penned, “and it has been the most incredible experience of my life. There wasn’t one second that I took it for granted or failed to appreciate what a tremendous privilege it is.
“When I entered the league, I was a 23-year old kid. I’m leaving it as a 38-year old husband and father of four with memories and experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. And like most things in life, it feels like it all passed in the blink of an eye,” Palmer wrote.
“What I will never forget are the relationships — not just the amazing teammates and coaches but all those countless people at the Bengals, (Oakland) Raiders & Cardinals who worked behind the scenes to make this whole thing run.”
It is clear that Palmer was impacted by plenty of individuals throughout his career, but what speaks more volume than anything is the impressions he left on countless more. Teammates old and new weighed in on Twitter with their thoughts regarding the 38 year-old’s retirement. While many divisional rivals don’t share a personal bond, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made it known that he and Palmer did so.
Carson… an amazing career. An even better person. It’s been a pleasure watching you succeed.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 2, 2018
Check out what others had to say below.
Congrats to Carson Palmer on one hell of a career. My favorite all time teammate is walking away on his terms. Not many people have that opportunity. Its been an honor and a privilege to block for you and be your teammate. Enjoy retirement brother! pic.twitter.com/x68LK4gZ1b
— AQ Shipley (@aqshipley) January 2, 2018
Congratulations Carson Palmer on a tremendous career! It was a pleasure to play with and learn under you.. Fight On Forever!! ✌🏼
— Matt Barkley (@MattBarkley) January 2, 2018
Will honestly miss these 2 leaders on the team! They have taught me so much on/off the field. I seriously owe so much to Carson & @BruceArians for how they have gotten me to where I am in my career/life today. I wish you all the best as you start the next stages of life! pic.twitter.com/6t5LwfvBf6
— David Johnson (@DavidJohnson31) January 2, 2018
Not many ppl can say they've blocked for one of their favorite players.
— Earl Watford (@EWatts78) January 2, 2018
Congratulations to Carson Palmer on an excellent career. He was one of the best leaders I ever played with. A great teammate and a better person. https://t.co/1wxSWY4fmF
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) January 2, 2018
— Trent Dilfer (@DilfersDimes) January 2, 2018
A Carson Palmer note: A few years ago a coach I know who'd worked with him in college asked Carson if he could get him tickets to a Cardinals game. Carson responded by getting him tickets AND putting the guy up in a 5-star hotel for the weekend.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 2, 2018
For those wanting to read Palmer’s letter in its entirety, check it out.
An open letter from Carson Palmer.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 2, 2018
The utmost class, a man’s man, family man, great teammate, phenomenal leader — just a few of the many words to describe him. Hats off to an incredible career.