Raiders acquire QB Carson Palmer

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Raiders acquire QB Carson Palmer

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Raiders will host a press conference introducing Carson Palmer, which will air on CSN California and stream live at 4 p.m. on CSNCalifornia.com.
Carson Palmer and Hue Jackson have a history.

And not just from when Jackson was the receivers coach with Cincinnati from 2004 through 2006. Jackson also recruited Palmer to USC in 1998 and was Palmer's offensive coordinator with the Trojans through 2000.

So yes, Palmer fulfills a huge part of the criteria Jackson laid out on Monday, that he'd have to have a certain sense of familiarity with any prospective new quarterback.

The Raiders acquiring Palmer for a first-round draft pick in next April's draft, as well as a future conditional pick, will leave Oakland without selections in the first, second, third, fourth and seventh rounds in 2012.

It also leaves no question to Jackson's position as the Raiders' power broker in the wake of Al Davis' passing on Oct. 8.

Palmer will wear No. 3 in Oakland. The team issued a press release shortly before 2 p.m. announcing a press conference to introduce Palmer.

Oakland beating the NFL trade deadline by bringing in a front-line starter like Palmer, rather than a backup along the lines of Trent Edwards, gives credence to the notion that the Raiders believe Jason Campbell's season is done, thanks to his fractured right collarbone, and that they have little trust in Kyle Boller going forward and even less in Terrelle Pryor.

"You've got to have somebody that can kind of hit the ground running, whether the guy can be a starter or the guy can be a backup because if not, it's going to take two or three weeks, or four to get engrained in the system and you've fallen behind," Jackson said Monday in his weekly media conference.

"I'm not interested in just putting anybody on this team."

Palmer, obviously, is not just "anybody."

He's a former Heisman Trophy winner who is also a two-time Pro Bowler and a strong-armed passer who, many critics charge, quit on his team this offseason when he sat out rather than report after his demands for a trade from Cincinnati were not met.

Under Palmer, and with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco as his receivers, the Bengals finished the 2010 season with a 10-game losing streak to finish 4-12, the team's worst finish since 2002. That was the year the Bengals finished with the worst record in the NFL and used to top pick to select Palmer.

Despite his draft standing, Palmer sat out his first year, learning the nuances of the position behind Jon Kitna.

In 2005, Palmer found his groove, leading Cincinnati to an 11-5 record and its first winning mark since 1990 while leading the NFL with 32 touchdown passes and a 67.8 completion percentage. But it was in a divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh when defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen rolled up on Palmer's left knee and tore both the ACL and MCL.

Palmer returned for the 2006 season but missed most of 2008 with a partially torn ligament and tendon in his right elbow.

Palmer's career record as a starting quarterback is 46-51, bottoming out with last year's 4-12 mark that hastened his request for a trade, despite his signing a six-year contract extension that took his initial deal through 2014 and made him, at the time, the highest paid player in the NFL on Dec. 29, 2005.

The Bengals were scheduled to pay Palmer 11 million this season, 11.5 million in 2012, 13 million in 2013 and 14 million in 2014.

"Hopefully this is the last place I end up playing," Palmer said at the time of the deal. "That's so rare in this league these days. It's so rare to see a person have a five-, eight-, 10-, 12-year career in one place. And I feel very fortunate that it looks like that's going to be my future."

Obviously, his feelings changed in the past five-plus years. This past season, fans reportedly left garbage on the lawn of Palmer's suburban Cincinnati home.

"Because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together," Palmer's agent, David Dunn, said in a release in January, "Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties."

WCPO-TV reported in March a friend of Palmer's quoted the quarterback as saying he "will never set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again," and that "I have 80 million in the bank. I don't have to play football for money. I'll play it for the love of the game but that would have to be elsewhere. I'm prepared to live my life."

But Browns owner Mike Brown initially stood firm, saying he would not trade his franchise quarterback.

"I honestly like Carson Palmer," Brown said then. "He was a splendid player for us. He's a good person. I wish him well. And he is retired. That is his choiceI'm not expecting him to be back."

Brown was also asked why he would not budge.

"Carson signed a contract," he said. "He made a commitment. He gave his word. "We relied on his word. We relied on his commitment. We expected him to perform here. He's going to walk away from his commitment. We aren't going to reward him for doing it."

Seems a potential pair of first-round draft picks might Brown rethink things. And has Palmer on the brink of rewriting some history with Jackson.

And while it appears as though the Raiders are now taking the 2012 NFL draft off, they were expecting to receive a compensatory pick or two after losing free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery.

A's stripped of little-engine-that-could classification at a bad time

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AP

A's stripped of little-engine-that-could classification at a bad time

As rumored over the past two months, Major League Baseball just lowered the Oakland Athletics’ revenue by $34 million, and now all the other developments of the past few weeks have finally become a call to arms by an organization that has always been strident pacifists when it comes to money.

In other words, The Little Engine That Occasionally Could has now been stripped of its little-engine classification, and the conditions that allowed them to play the cute little underdog are gone. No more waiting for more clement economic circumstances, or a more favorable political climate, or for the ever-nebulous “future” which the A’s always dangled before its dwindling fan base.

That was the news of Wednesday. Thursday, reports from ESPN’s Jim Trotter indicated that San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos is going to swallow his pride to exercise his option to join Stan Kroenke in Los Angeles, thus reducing Mark Davis’ viable options to Las Vegas and the tender mercies of the NFL, or Oakland and the tender mercies of whoever decides to tackle the problem of a new football-atorium.

In other words, push and shove are now jockeying for position in what is expected to be a crash.

First, the A’s.

With the news that Major League Baseball is going to hack the team’s revenue sharing check by 25, 50, 75 and then 100 percent over the next four years, the margin of error for new front man Dave Kaval to get a stadium built has been reduced to those four years. He is following the dictates of his boss, the persistently hologrammatic John Fisher, who essentially shoved Lew Wolff out the door for preaching San Jose and then caution.

The A’s don’t want to share anything with the Raiders, which rules out a Coliseum site. They have investigated Howard Terminal, which is not without its issues. And there is a new darkhorse site, the land around Laney College which, in a tart bit of irony, is the site of the Raiders’ first Oakland home, Frank Youell Field.

The city and county are in the early stages of a deal to sell the Coliseum land to a group faced by Ronnie Lott and the money-moving Fortress group, and get out of the landlord business entirely. It has pledged somewhere between $190 and $200 million in infrastructure improvements, though in the case of two stadia, the question of whether that amount is split remains to be politicized.

But the real point here is that the Gordian knot that is Oakland’s weird hold on its franchises remains tightly raveled. The Fortress announcement was supposed to be a point of clarity, but the revenue sharing news and now the Chargers-to-L.A. rumors have returned chaos to its usual position at the tip of the food chain.

And chaos makes for hasty decisions, and hasty decisions are often regretted. But hey, what’s life without rich people awash in regrets?

The new developments ratchet up the pressure on the City of Oakland and Alameda County to decide what support – if any – to provide a new A’s stadium, and coincidentally what support – if any – can be provided to the Raiders if they are forced to stay in Oakland by the NFL.

It even ratchets up the pressure on the NFL owners to decide among themselves whether their actual end-game goal – to have the Raiders controlled by someone other than Mark Davis – is better served by allowing him to move his team to Las Vegas or denying him his escape route.

But now for the first time there are time constraints – a few months for Mark Davis, a few years for John Fisher and Dave Kaval. The principles of subsidized Moneyball are now conjoined with the principles of Darwinism, and as the A’s have had innovate-or-die thrust upon them, the Raiders have approached the day of reckoning they’ve been desperately kicking down the road since Al Davis’ death. Plus, the political structures of Oakland and Alameda County will catch the holiest of hells either way, and probably across the board.

But as Paul Weller once wrote, “That’s entertainment.” Find shelter, children. The acrid smell of roasting money is in the wind.

Defying common sense makes another official look inhuman

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AP

Defying common sense makes another official look inhuman

Officials are a pet cause of mine, since they are uniquely hired and set up for daily failure as a condition of having the job at all. They are given a supervisory role against a group of mesomorphs running, jumping, colliding and athletick-ing all over the place, only so that they can interpret a rulebook written in Cambodian script in such a way that he or she angers everyone involved, and is supported by none of the people who gave him the rulebook to defend.

But sometimes, despite all this, officials need to be left alone to apply common sense in direct defiance of the dictates of the bloated swine who made the rulebook a tool of the socially ignorant.

And no, I am not talking about Doc Rivers snapping like a stretched bobblehead the other night after Ken Mauer tossed him from the Los Angeles Clippers-Brooklyn Nets game for being geographically inappropriate with fellow official Lauren Holtkamp (he crossed the midcourt line, and curb your dirty minds). Screw him. He had it coming.

No, this is about Frank Schneider, who refereed the otherwise unremarkable Paris Saint Germain-Angers match in Ligue 1, the top division of French soccer, and felt compelled to yellow-card PSG goalscorer Edinson Cavani for doing this.

For you link-averse weenies, Cavani scored a goal and then took off his shirt to reveal an undershirt that read “ACE FUERZA” in support of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, the team involved in the plane wreck that killed 77 of 81 passengers, including all but a few of the team’s players and staff en route to the championship match of the Copa Sudamericana in Colombia against Atletico Nacional.

It was a thoughtful gesture, one we want our athletes to produce to show that they are not just mercenaries with expensively shod feet. It was a credit to Cavani, who is Uruguayan and who knew none of the players involved. He did it to be a human being.

And Schneider knew that. But the rules say he had to give Cavani a yellow card for removing his shirt as an act of celebration or in this case, sympathy, and if Schneider had ignored it, his supervisors would have punished him knowing full well that ignoring it was exactly the correct and decent thing to do.

This right here is one more reason why people hate officials, even more than they used to. They are not allowed to apply their own common sense to a situation that demands it, and if honoring fellow athletes who died in an accident doesn’t demand the common sense of saying, “Heartwarming thought there, Scooter. You’re a good lad. Run and frolic with the other woodland creatures, unconcerned with any notion of punitive action.”

Maybe Schneider walked up to him as he presented the card and said, “Listen, this is crap. You know it and I know it, and I will back your play in the game report, but I have to do this. Please find it in your heart to forgive my bureaucratic obligations.”

That’s not the zenith of understanding as we would wish it, but it would be a way to try and shield Cavani from the withered arm of the law.

Or maybe Schneider said, “I give this card to you in my role as a strident and iron-willed defender of mindless regulations. I spurn you as I would spurn a rabid wolf.”

I don’t know. All I know is, Schneider ends up looking stupid for carding Cavani for supporting his soccer-playing brethren, and officials across the globe cry out as one, “You put him in a ridiculous position, you suit-wearing filth. Where is your compassion? Where is your dignity? Why can’t we line up in an orderly fashion and kick you squarely in the groin 30 to 70 times?”

And a decent human instinct is stamped out as though it were caught stealing office supplies.

You can extend this lesson as far as you wish, including the No Fun League’s old-white-guys fetishistic ban on post-touchdown self-expression, but right here is where that sort of mockable nonsense starts. People died, some of them soccer players. A fellow soccer player honored them on the field of play without disrupting the game itself. He was sanctioned. This is idiocy.

But Doc Rivers getting flipped in Brooklyn? Sorry. There’s only so far we can go with this, and in this case, well, to quote the old philosopher, “Nice tantrum, Glenn.”