Ray Ratto

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.

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

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AP

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).

AFC WEST

DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)

NFL SOUTH

ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.