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Hobson's Choice: Shirt off his back

Q: How come none of you guys asked Carson why the heck he is wearing a Lions shirt?
--Ben, Staunton, Va.

BEN: I did, assuming it was a gift from old friend Jon Kitna, Palmer's mentor when he broke into the league before he went to the Lions.

But the shirt looks older than the 35-year-old Kitna. It looks like it may have been worn by former Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau in his heyday in Detroit during the '60s and '70s.

It turns out that Palmer has had the shirt longer than he's been a Bengal. He got it at the 2003 Senior Bowl, where the Lions staff coached his North team.

"Hey, do you care what's written on your shirt if you like it?" asked Palmer, pointing at the offending scribe.

Since the words were "L.L. Bean," the answer would have to be no.

Q: After reading an article about Chad on I don't think I can support him anymore. Carson has always been the bigger man and taken the blame for Chad's mistakes. When Chad brings Carson into it, it's time to cut him loose. What would we have to do to make up for the salary cap hit if we traded him before the draft?
--Adam W., Cincinnati, OH

ADAM: If you're looking for anyone to make sense of it all, don't look here. What Chad did to Carson makes no sense. But in order to make a trade work under the salary cap, you'd have to cut a couple of starters and that just doesn't make any sense, either.

Carson said nothing that Chad hasn't said already publicly. That he's going to be here when required.

But then, keeping up with what Chad says to who is like trying to write one of those Campaign Fact Checks.

And I love Ocho. The only thing bigger than his mouth is his heart. He's the only human being who may have TV stars and ESPN's John Clayton on the same speed dial.

If you don't like the Cincinnati weather, Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania strategy, or what Chad says, wait 15 minutes.

But to bring Carson into it, that is quite surprising. It's so unlike Chad. You wonder what it does to their relationship. We're already getting questions wondering if this is Chad's nuclear strike because Carson is so highly-regarded in the locker room and community, and you just hope not.

But, the thing is, it doesn't change anything before April 26 because the cap hit doesn't change. It's about $8 million counting his bonus and the salary of the player you would need to replace him.

Sure, it'd be great if you could call up Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia and say, "The best offer gets him," and watch them kill themselves to keep them away from the other guys.

But it is also an unmanageable hit for a team whose flexibility in the draft and with the cap has virtually been paralyzed by injuries to David Pollack, Chris Perry and Kenny Irons, and the release of Chris Henry. And, not to mention, giving $16 million to Chad Johnson over two years.

And, on the other side, who sees the guy sitting out the year and not getting paid? At some point in training camp, he'll have to come in to avoid that.

Chad didn't get the memo. The first thing you don't do to Mike Brown, who has been in training camp stalemates before 85 was 1, is back him into a corner with headines and sound bites from the NFL Network, of which, as an NFL owner, he foots part of the bill.

Until Chad has to be here in the mandatory stuff, it's all fantasy football because who really knows?

Hey, wait 15 minutes.

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