Too bad Carson Palmer isn’t going anywhere

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:31 PM ET

TORONTO - Carson Palmer is going to have a difficult time convincing Bengals owner Mike Brown to let him go elsewhere.

Too bad because the San Francisco 49ers evidently are interested in replacing Alex Smith with Palmer.

Mike Lombardi of NFL Network says that the 49ers at least could make a phone call to Brown.

While Palmer didn’t have a vintage season with the Bengals, the 49ers wouldn’t be the only team interested in his services.

Seattle, with Matt Hasselbeck expected to move on, is considering Palmer as an alternative — according to scuttlebut eminating from the Pro Bowl.

San Francisco is one of at least a half dozen teams looking to upgrade at the quarterback position. One drawback is the potential of a lockout. The owners have threatened to lock out players and shut down the league on March 3 if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t reached.

It would mean teams couldn’t trade or speak with free agents.

If a work stoppage lasted into the summer it would make it difficult for teams to switch players at key positions because they wouldn’t have time to learn offensive (or defensive) schemes.

It also complicates the situation for players such as Donovan McNabb and Vince Young. McNabb wants out of Washington and Minnesota is believed to have an interest. Ditto Young, who has also been rumoured to have an interest in going to Houston.

Jets win! ... somewhere else

But only if you live in Nicaragua, Zambia, Romania or Armenia. Apparel makers these days usually prepare shirts and hats declaring both teams in major events as champions.

You know, so guys can mug for cameras. Looks good on TV. But they don’t sell real well back Loserville or any other part of the world that knows what really happened.

The website TMZ reports that this year’s batch of unsellable merchandize is headed overseas where people don’t care what clothes say ... only that it keeps them warm.

— Bill Lankhof

Cheeseheads 1, Blockheads 0

Cheering for his favourite football team cost John Stone his job Monday as a car salesman at Webb Chevrolet in Chicago.

Turns out Stone may be the only Packers’ fan in the state and when he showed up at work wearing his Green Bay tie it didn’t go over real well with the boss.

Webb Chevrolet is a radio sponsor for Bears’ games.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Stone recounted his conversation with his boss, Jerry Roberts: “He said, ‘You have two options. Remove the tie, or you’re fired.’ When I didn’t, he said, ‘You can leave, you’re fired.’ Does that sound fair to you?”

Roberts said he fired Stone because wearing the tie the day after the Bears’ loss antagonized Bears’ fans and “makes it harder to sell cars.” Roberts added, “If he loves the tie more than his job, he’s welcome to keep wearing it — elsewhere.”

Stone said tough cheese and has already landed a job at a different dealership.

— Bill Lankhof

Culter’s tear-rible injury

Jay Cutler’s left knee injury is a Grade II MCL tear.

The Bears announced Cutler’s injury as a “sprain,” but in medical terms that’s the equivalent of a tear.

Head coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday that had the Bears advanced to the Super Bowl it would have been unlikely that Cutler could have played.

A Grade II MCL injury would normally sideline a player for about a month.

Bears fans are still angry that Cutler left the game after one series in the second half.

He was seen pedaling a stationary bike and standing and walking on the sideline.

Smith said Cutler did want to continue playing but that the medical staff and coaches made the decision to pull him because he wasn’t mobile enough to protect himself.

— Bill Lankhof

Herschel Walker eyes comeback?

Former Pro Bowl running back Herschel Walker says he wants to be like George Foreman.

Unfortunately he’s not talking about an exciting career selling bar-be-cues.

Walker says he’s in better shape now than when he played in the NFL and that he wants to make a comeback.

Walker has been retired since 1997 and will be 49 years old before the start of next season.

“I’ve told everyone that at 50 I might try football again to show people I can do that,” Walker said Monday in a conference call aimed at promoting an MMA event in which he’ll be participating.

“I want to be the George Foreman of football, come back and do that one more time.”

He’s even being picky, suggesting the teams he’d play for are Atlanta or the Vikings — which makes sense since the latter has recent experience as a clearing house for broken-down players heading into their dotage.

In 12 NFL seasons, Walker had 18,168 total combined net yards, ranking him second among the NFL’s all-time leaders in total yardage at the time of his retirement in 1997.

“I’m in better shape now than I was when I was in my early 20s, playing football,” said Walker who, as football players go, makes a good comedian.

— Bill Lankhof

Rodgers credits new helmet

Did he, or didn’t he?

Only Aaron Rodgers knows and he’s not about to tell anyone.

Speculation abounds that the Packers quarterback may have suffered his third concussion of the year when he was drilled upside the earhole in a head to head hit from Julius Peppers.

Rodgers did look a bit wobbly after the play but didn’t say anything to sideline doctors and the Packers never checked him out for a problem.

Of course, if they had and had he complained of being dizzy, he’d have been yanked from the biggest game of his life and it would jeopardize his chance of playing next week in the Super Bowl.

Rodgers attributes his ability to keep playing after being knocked and/or knocked out of the game to his new helmet.

Rodgers says a new helmet he has been wearing since his last concussion saved him from serious injury this time.

It is a new, safer, high-tech model the NFL has been urging players to use.

“That was lucky,” Rodgers told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. “As much as the new helmet feels uncomfortable and I’m still getting used to it, I’m really happy I was wearing it on that hit.

“It hurt, I can tell you that. He hit me pretty good. I know what a concussion feels like. I’m just grateful this wasn’t hard enough to give me another one.”

And, even if it was hard enough to give him headaches, the chances of Rodgers admitting it now are about as likely as Rex Ryan turning up as guest speaker at a mime convention.

— Bill Lankhof

Matt Stafford ... ‘china doll’ QB

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has enough trouble avoiding enemy hits.

Tuesday, the oft-injured former No. 1 draft pick got hit by friendly fire. Teammate and linebacker Zack Follett called Stafford “a china doll right now.”

Follett said while Stafford is a huge talent and a “good guy” he is unable to keep from getting hurt. He has missed more games (19) than he has played (13) in his first two NFL seasons.

“Anytime he gets hit, he goes down. But the kid is — hopefully, it’s just patiently waiting for him, because the kid is an awesome talent,” Follett told the Detroit Free Press.

“He has a tremendous arm. The throws that he makes during practice when no one can touch him, he looks like an All-American quarterback, but put him in a game, and you hit his shoulder.

“So hopefully, say a couple prayers, keep him healthy next year, and the Lions can do some damage in the NFC.”

The Lions quickly had Follett undergo an emergency operation to, you know, get the foot taken out of his mouth.

In a follow-up radio interview Follett blamed the injuries on “the luck of the draw, he’s had bad luck. I have no doubt that he can come and play a full season, he’s a tough kid.

“I’ll tell you right now I’m glad we have Matthew Stafford instead of the Bears quarterback because he goes in and plays with separated shoulders in some games.”

— Bill Lankhof

Quick Hits

And, now for the Michael Vick Jailbird of the Year Award. Giants GM Jerry Reese isn’t going to be waiting at the prison door when Plaxico Burress is released next June. But he won’t be far away. Neither will Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Both have expressed interest in signing Burress who is serving a two-year sentence after he shot himself in the hip with an illegal gun in a nightclub. “I think the first thing he’ll want to do is just spend time with his family, and we’ll be in contact at the appropriate time,” said Reese ... Bears backup quarterback Todd Collins underwent an MRI Tuesday after it was disclosed that he suffered a shoulder injury in the NFC championship game ... The Bills promoted Mary Owen to executive vice president for strategic planning. She’s the niece of owner and team president Ralph C. Wilson ... Packers RB John Kuhn will try to earn his second Super Bowl ring by beating the team that provided him with his first ... Denver head coach John Fox has hired Saints defensive backs coach Dennis Allen to become his defensive coordinator. All he needs now is a defence ... Wes Welker, when asked if he’s glad the Jets aren’t in the Super Bowl: “I think if you’re a Patriot fan, a little bit.” ... The Cowboys may be targetting offensive linemen Nate Solder of Colorado and Tyron Smith of USC with their No. 9 pick ... Marques (The Bionic Man) Colston will have arthroscopic surgery on both his knee and wrist. These will be Colston’s fifth and sixth known surgeries since 2008 ... Green Bay was much better than the average 10-6 NFL team. They were the first team in history to lose six games in a season and have all six losses by four points or fewer.


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