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Carson Palmer reminisces on trade from Raiders to Cardinals

Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer watches as his names is added to the Cardinals' ring of honor at half time an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Carson Palmer didn’t know Bruce Arians the person when the then-Oakland Raiders quarterback got a phone call in April of 2013.

He quickly got an accurate first impression.

On vacation in Hawaii, the quarterback’s phone rang. His agent had Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians, both entering their first years in those positions, on the line.

“They were at Bruce’s house,” Palmer recalled while visiting Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf for Legends Week. “They were on speakerphone, I was out by the pool at the hotel in Hawaii, and I could literally hear the ice cubes swirling around the Yeti cup. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Bruce was stirring his drink and stirring the ice cubes in his Yeti cup.

“The trade had gotten done. That was my first intro, was, ‘Wow, this is a little bit different. Bruce and Steve do things a little bit different out there in the desert, don’t they?'”

The trade turned out well for all parties involved. Over five years, Palmer went 38-20-1 with Arizona, throwing for 16,782 yards, 105 touchdowns and 57 interceptions in the Arians-led offense.

He was inducted into the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor this past September.

And as he and Arians’ late career success went hand-in-hand — they always spoke of riding off into the sunset together and did so after the 2017 season — the two grew close.

Before that phone call, all Palmer knew was Arians the tactician, not the never-filtered personality.

“All I knew was film,” Palmer said. “Back in the day, he was in Pittsburgh when I was in Cincinnati, and two AFC North teams playing against each other all the time, Pittsburgh film would always come up. Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress and (Antwaan) Randle El and all these great receivers they had, and the system they were running, and obviously (quarterback Ben) Roethlisberger.

“I remember watching the film and loving the concepts. It’s a copy-cat league, you’ve heard that term … We would pull certain things from Bruce’s offense back then. Fast-forward … and I would be running those same plays called from Bruce. That was what I knew of Bruce.”


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