Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Carson Palmer declined to reveal why he decided not to report to the Bengals in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, but the former franchise quarterback acknowledged it was a "selfish decision."
Still, that didn't stop Palmer from watching every Bengals game this season and being happy with the Bengals' surprising 4-2 start.
“As much as some might find it hard to believe, I want them to succeed," Palmer told the newspaper. "There are a lot of great guys on that team and there is a young, talented group. They look real good."
Palmer was traded from the Bengals to the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday. When he decided to hold out, he never expected it would take until the NFL trading deadline before a deal would get done.
So why did Palmer choose to sit out instead of playing for Cincinnati?
“It was a number of different things but I spoke my peace with them [the organization]. It was just time,” Palmer said. “I know this was a selfish decision. I had my meeting at the end of last season with [Bengals owner Mike Brown] and said the best thing to do was to move on and rebuild with the young talent and nucleus that they had. I’m glad that he realized that.”
Hensley's slant: Yes, everyone can agree that Palmer was selfish and Brown was stubborn. Let's just thank the Raiders for their generosity to get this deal done so Palmer and the Bengals can move on after a 10-month stalemate. This has to go down as the longest divorce in NFL history.
BROWNS: Injuries are becoming an increasing concern for Cleveland, which practiced without running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring), cornerback Joe Haden (knee), linebacker Scott Fujita (concussion) and backup safety Ray Ventrone (hamstring). "I can't tell you the status of all four of these guys for the game Sunday," coach Pat Shurmur told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hensley's slant: Even though Hillis hasn't contributed much, his loss would be significant against Seattle, which leads the NFL in fewest yards allowed per carry (3.1). The Seahawks haven't given up more than 70 yards to a running back this season including the 49ers' Frank Gore (59 yards), the Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall (66), the Falcons' Michael Turner (70) and the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw (58).
RAVENS: Head coach John Harbaugh said the presence of receiver Anquan Boldin factored into the team's decision not to keep Derrick Mason and Todd Heap this offseason. Harbaugh said via The Baltimore Sun: “Because you knew you had Anquan there with the young guys and Anquan being that kind of go-to guy that [quarterback] Joe [Flacco] could have this year and try to make sure that those guys kind of develop that relationship, and I think you’ll see it growing. It was there early last year, and it’s something we need to keep building.” Hensley's slant: Have to disagree here because Flacco has never had the same chemistry with Boldin as he did with Mason or Heap. Before his 132-yard performance last Sunday, Boldin averaged 55.5 yards receiving in his first four games. He also was held to 15 yards or less receiving in his final three regular-season games last season. The Ravens need to continue to build this connection between Flacco and Boldin, particularly with Lee Evans remaining sidelined.
STEELERS: Ben Roethlisberger tried to persuade offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to go no huddle in the fourth quarter last Sunday in an attempt to get the Steelers out of their slump. "A lot of it is that I am calling the plays, so I can see the defenses," Roethlisberger told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "When a play is called from the sidelines, it's based off tendencies, which when you have a good coordinator like we do they know tendencies pretty well. I have a feel for who is playing well and who is doing good things. It's a rhythm thing." Hensley's slant: The Steelers need to do something to shake up an offense that ranks 22nd in the NFL in scoring. When Roethlisberger suggests something, Pittsburgh should listen. This isn't a rookie looking to gain more control of the offense. This is a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who knows the pulse of the team.