Thursday, June 15, 2006
Palmer: 'I felt good'
BY MARK CURNUTTE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer participated in seven-on-seven pass drills this morning in minicamp practice, the first time he has faced a defense since injuring his left knee Jan. 8 against the Steelers.
“I felt good. I felt confident with my reads, confident with what I was doing on the field, didn’t quite feel athletic and fluid like I should and normally am,” he said.
“And that’s going to take a while to get the rust off and just get the strength and all the balance back. But it was a first good opportunity to get back on the field and throw against the defense and doing quarterback drills. Overall it was a good first day.”
Palmer said he resisted driving hard back from center in his backpedal and, for the first time in his career, is realizing he has limitations in how much he can do physically.
Teammates were enthused by Palmer’s performance.
“Nothing happened to his arm,” said wide receiver Chad Johnson, who caught a 45-yard fly pass from Palmer.
Right tackle Willie Anderson said the entire offense got a lift from seeing Palmer on the field.
“He stepped right in and had great command of the huddle,” Anderson said.
Before practice, Bengals head trainer Paul Sparling said Palmer is ahead of schedule in his rehab from major knee surgery, a "model patient" and has only experienced "minor bumps in the road.”
Sparling said the coaches, trainers and front office remain "cautiously optimistic" that Palmer would be able to play in the opener Sept. 10 at Kansas City.
"He comes into the training room and asks, `What’s next?’" Sparling said of Palmer’s attitude in rehab. "We’ve never had to push him, not once. He tells us what’s bothering him, what’s sore."
Palmer has worked on drop-back movements, thrown and shuffled over ground pads to improve his agility.
Sparling also said wide receiver Chris Henry (knee sprain) and running back Chris Perry (knee surgery in April) were not cleared for minicamp.
Middle linebacker Odell Thurman was not at practice. Word on the sidelines was Thurman was excused for personal reasons.