Notes: Three men and a deal

Posted Oct 18, 2011

Marvin Lewis

Even though Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis broke his cell phone while working out before Sunday’s game, one of the biggest trades in Bengals history still got connected.

(Trading the draft’s No. 1 overall pick to New England for picks 16 and 28 in 1984 and dealing Pete Johnson for James Brooks a month later may get slight nods.)

By the time Lewis got a new one, the Bengals and Raiders were on their way to a blockbuster. Carson Palmer for a first-rounder next year and a second-rounder in 2013.

That’s because Raiders head coach Hue Jackson knew where to find Lewis and Bengals president Mike Brown. After all, Lewis hired Jackson to coach the temperamental Bengals receivers in 2004 and in 2010 Brown recommended Jackson for the Raiders offensive coordinator’s job to the late Al Davis. Later, when it all worked out, Davis would express his appreciation to Brown.

“Hue is my friend and a very good friend,” Lewis said. “We talk every other day or so, if not every day at some point by text message, about what is going on with our teams and how things are going. So, you know, I had to avoid him for a day or so.”

Lewis was joking, of course. All three talked enough that it got done.

“I talked to Mike a lot; and he listened,” Jackson said Tuesday night from Raiders Headquarters. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Mike. I liked working for him. He’ll listen to you and I told him what I wanted. I don''t know if you could say I persuaded him, but we were able to get it done.”

Brown outlined his thoughts in the Bengals news release:

“Several factors made us believe that trading Carson to Oakland was the best move for the Bengals at this time. The principal development has been Andy Dalton, who has shown himself to be one of the best and most exciting young quarterbacks in the NFL. We have a good, young football team, and Andy can be the cornerstone of that team for a long time.

“We also find ourselves rather suddenly in position of being able to receive real value for Carson that can measurably improve our team – which is performing well and is showing real promise for this year and years to come. When this opportunity arose, we felt we could not let it pass, and needed to take a step forward with the football team if we could.”

Lewis admitted Tuesday that he wasn’t as patient as Brown through the process and that patience won the day, but he also felt Dalton’s performance helped push a deal.

“I would be on board with that, but I think it has helped Mike become comfortable with the whole situation moving forward,” Lewis said. “We are where we are. We are six games into our year and we’ve got a lot of football ahead of us. A lot of growth, a lot of getting better to do, and we are excited about it doing it through these guys we have here now.”

Jackson said “no question” the deal began to percolate Sunday night in the wake of Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell’s broken collarbone.

“You’d have to say a good deal for both sides,” he said.

MORE PLAYER REACT: Right guard Bobbie Williams compared and contrasted Palmer and Dalton:

“Just to be politically correct, Andy brings something that Carson doesn’t, and I’m not knocking Carson. A little bit more passion. I’m not saying Carson isn’t passionate, but Andy brings a little bit more.”

Running back Cedric Benson, the first player to publicly urge the Bengals to trade Palmer back in the winter if he didn’t want to be here, liked the move.

“Knowing Carson, being a friend of his, he’s got make a decision, I’ve got his back and I’m going to roll with him whether it helps the organization or not,” Benson said. “He’s a friend of mine. We became fond of each other while he was here and I’ve got his back.”

Backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski reflected the sense that the trade isn’t going to have a big impact on the locker room because Palmer was never here. And it certainly won’t affect Dalton, he says.

“We haven’t focused on that. It’s never been talked about here,” Gradkowski said. “We’ve come in day one, looked around, saw the guys in that quarterback room and went from there. That’s all we’ve ever been focused on. There’s not one time we even mentioned it. I don’t think Andy has ever focused on that kind of stuff. He’s a good kid, a smart kid and he knows what to have his mind set on.”

Gradkowski, who came from the Raiders, thinks Palmer has some weapons at receiver.

“Hue’s a good coach, he’s fiery, he’s intense,” he said. “It’s good for them out there. Hue does a good job.” 


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