The deciding factor for whether Carson Palmer was going to return for a 15th NFL season wasn’t about if the desire was there, but rather if his body would allow him.
Palmer joined Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf on Friday to share his insights on why he decided to return and how he wants to have one more shot at the Super Bowl.
“The hardest thing is I wanted to play but I didn’t know if my body was going to give me another shot,” Palmer said. “As soon as the season ends, it doesn’t matter if you’re 22, 32 or 42, your body is just reeling not just from 16 weeks of football, but from the beginning of March when you start training until the end of January or mid February.”
Palmer, who will be entering his fifth season with the Cardinals, added that the decision of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to return didn’t play a role in his future, other than to say that having him back does make the Cardinals a better team.
“There’s no doubt that it’s a bonus for all of us that he’s back,” Palmer said. “I just want another shot. Obviously it didn’t go our way (last season). You feel snake bitten, but I think we need another shot at it and that’s what’s so exciting about it. You look at our schedule. You look at our opponents. You look at our road games. I love who we got in our locker room. I love who we have at each position and the depth and we will continue to add. We just need another shot, another opportunity and that’s what we have and that’s what’s so promising.”
After achieving career highs in passing yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35) in 2015 as the Cardinals rolled to a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, Palmer finished last season with 4,233 yards and 26 touchdowns in a disappointing 7-8-1 season.
Palmer suffered a concussion in a Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He missed the following week against the San Francisco 49ers, but returned the next week against the New York Jets.
However, despite physical toll being an NFL quarterback puts on a body, Palmer said he doesn’t mind it and loves the grind of the game. He added that he started breaking down college quarterbacks because he was bored and has already started to study new coordinators including new Rams’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
“I enjoy all of that stuff,” he said. “The grind has never been an issue. It has always been something that I enjoy and I feel like it’s something that has given me a leg up.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner from USC, Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003 and spent seven seasons with them before spending two with the Oakland Raiders. He before being acquired by the Cardinals in the trade before the 2013 season.
Palmer isn’t prepared to think about anything past the 2017 season, instead he said that he’s focused on the upcoming season and getting prepared for it. But he adds that by the end of next season, he’s hopeful that mentally and physically, he will be able to give it yet another go.
“The hardest thing for me is I knew I wanted to play and wanted one more shot at it or a couple more shots at it. I just wanted to make sure that my body was going to come back and I was just waiting on that,” Palmer said. “Just knowing that I have to be at 100 percent. My teammates deserve that. Our fans deserves that. Everyone deserves that and I was concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to get back there. As the days went on and the weeks and months, I felt better and better as I continued to rehab and do all the things I do during the offseason.
“I was just excited that my body came back and I’m getting another shot.”