Carson Palmer is a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. He previously played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders and is best known for winning the 2002 Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player at the University of Southern California.
Palmer was born in Fresno, CA on December 27. 1979 and played football at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. His family considered moving to the East Coast, but his father realized that Palmer would benefit most from the level of competition in California. After a strong showing during his junior season, he began to field offers from USC, Notre Dame, and other high profile college programs. He cemented his status as one of the premier quarterback prospects in the country as a senior, leading Orange County with a 203.9 quarterback rating and earning First-Team all-league recognition.
University of Southern California
Palmer signed a letter of intent to play college football at USC and became only the second true freshman ever to start at quarterback for the Trojans. He produced mostly pedestrian numbers during his first three seasons on campus, but he had a breakout senior season under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He tossed for 3,942 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions and eventually won the Heisman Trophy. As a four-year starter, he set a USC school record with 72 touchdown passes and became the Pac-10’s all-time leader in passing yards and completions.
Following his Heisman-winning senior season, Palmer was selected with the first overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals decided not to play him right away, as he didn’t see any action as a rookie and learned from veteran Jon Kitna. In his second season as a starter in 2005, Palmer helped lead Cincinnati to its first winning record in fifteen seasons and an AFC North division title. He tossed 32 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and was named the 2005 FedEx Air Player of the Year.
A devastating knee injury suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card round nearly ended Palmer’s career, but he rehabilitated the injury and returned to action at the start of the 2006 season. In seven seasons with the franchise, he threw 154 touchdowns and made two Pro Bowls.
Following a 4-12 campaign in 2010, Palmer requested to be traded. Cincinnati refused to give in to his demands, and the team drafted Andy Dalton as his replacement. The Bengals eventually traded Palmer to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick on October 18, 2011. He started nine games with the Raiders in 2011, throwing 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions as the team missed the playoffs. He returned as Oakland’s starter in 2012 and threw for over 4,000 yards in 15 games, but the team again failed to make the postseason.
After two seasons with Oakland, Palmer was acquired by the Arizona Cardinals for a sixth-round draft choice on April 2, 2013. He was named starter prior to training camp and threw for a career-high 4,274 yards while helping lead the Cardinals to a 10-6 finish in the rugged NFC West.
|2013 Regular Season||362||572||63.3||4274||7.5||24||22||91||30||4||71||41||83.9||267.13|
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