Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell caught in whirlwind with Raiders
On Sunday afternoon, Campbell was in the midst of reviving both his career as an NFL quarterback and the fortunes of the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, Palmer was at home, refusing to play for the team that employed him and considering himself to be retired.
Then suddenly Campbell broke his collarbone late in the first half against Cleveland, and everything was turned upside down. Two days later, Palmer was introduced as the Raiders' new quarterback and Campbell is left to wonder if he will ever suit up for the team again.
“I went to bed at 10:30 a retired football player and got a text message at 4 a.m. and was told to get on a plane to Oakland,” said Palmer, who has been sitting out all season and had said he'd never play for the Cincinnati Bengals again. "So it's been a whirlwind."
Campbell had surgery Monday, and while he was confident he'd be back in as little as six weeks, others fear he's out for the season. With just Kyle Boller and rookie Terrelle Pryor as the only other quarterbacks on the roster, Oakland Coach Hue Jackson acted fast, turning to a player he helped recruit at USC.
"I know his passion," Jackson said of Palmer. "I know his dedication to the game. What's gone on for Carson at Cincinnati is over. The time is now and that's what I'm going to worry about.”
The Raiders gave up a lot to get the 32-year-old Palmer -- a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional second-round pick in 2013 that could become a first-rounder. But Jackson called it "the greatest trade in football."
“I know a lot of people think we've mortgaged the future of the organization,” Jackson said. “I don't see it that way. I don't think you ever mortgage the future of an organization when you're putting a real big-time franchise quarterback on your team.”
Palmer, 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds, is a classic downfield thrower, although an elbow injury in 2008 may have affected his arm strength.
But, he said, “I've been throwing and my arm feels as good as it ever has. I feel confident in it. It's my job to answer that question. The only way I can do that is on the field, throwing it.”
Palmer reportedly agreed to a restructured contract that would pay him $2.5 million this season, $12.5 million in 2012, $13 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014, with $7.5 million guaranteed next season.
Where all this leaves Campbell -- the man who led the Raiders to a surprising 4-2 start -- is unclear. But it probably isn't in Oakland, at least not for much longer. His contract is up at the end of the year, so his days with the team may have been numbered anyway.
But at least he got a chance to put on a pretty good audition for another team during the first six weeks of this season.
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photos, from left: Carson Palmer (Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press); Jason Campbell (Paul Sakuma / Associated Press).