Giants QB Palmer looks good

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

Jesse Palmer didn't hear the whistle aimed his way as he disappeared into the New York Giants locker room yesterday. Good thing, too, considering the source was a 350-pound lineman wearing nothing but a skimpy towel.

Razzing their Canadian beefcake teammate like that was common during training camp for many Giants players, who still chuckle at the memory of seeing the Ottawa-area native star in the reality series The Bachelor this summer.

But the jokes have subsided significantly now that the regular season has started. Palmer's passes now are targeted at Giants receivers, not a bevy of beauties.

In the history of the NFL there may never have been a more in-demand third-string quarterback than Palmer, especially with young women craving the opportunity to meet Palmer.

There was one incident, he recalled, when a female fainted at the mere sight of him. There have been random phone calls and many "interesting" letters. All for a guy who will be carrying a clipboard Sunday when the Washington Redskins come here to Giants Stadium.

'AMAZING'

"It has been amazing," Palmer, 25, said yesterday. "I think a lot of male viewers probably already knew me from football but I think the show tended to market toward the female audience. It has been noticeable."

Palmer and Jessica, the woman he selected from the 25 who started the show, have not been an item for some time.

"We were keeping in touch up until training camp," he said. "By that point I got lost in football. I know she's doing great.

"Right now my priority is football."

Many observers figured Palmer was toast when no-nonsense coach Tom Coughlin was hired during the off-season. Despite posting respectable numbers as the Giants starter the final three games of the 2003 season (60-for-116, 532 yards, three TDs, four INTs), Palmer watched the Coughlin regime trade for first overall draft pick Eli Manning, then sign former league MVP Kurt Warner to be Manning's tutor.

But a strong pre-season allowed Palmer to retain a roster spot. And with Warner almost certain to be let go after the season, Palmer is expected to move up the depth chart.

"We've got a great relationship, all three of us," Palmer said of his fellow quarterbacks.

"I knew there would be changes with the new coaching staff, so I just spent the off-season focussing on getting better and making this team again. To that end, I was successful."


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