's Super Bowl XXXV coverage

Bengals-Browns rivalry could intensify if Palmer jumps

Chris Palmer's courtship with the Cincinnati Bengals as offensive coordinator could make for a meaner rivalry with the Browns. The greatest irony is that Palmer would be asked to resuscitate the promise of quarterback Akili Smith.

It's possible Smith is still sore that Palmer chose Tim Couch over him in Cleveland, but he also knows that Palmer rated Smith ahead of Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper because Palmer considered Smith's strong arm and tight spirals as a better fit for the outdoor conditions one would face playing in Ohio.

The downside for Palmer in Cincinnati is that he could be sucked into the great Bengals vortex of losing, and never get another chance to again be a head coach and, twice a year, he'll be directly reminded of his Cleveland experience. The upside is that if he turns around Smith's career and the Bengals become competitive in the tough AFC Central, Palmer will receive a fair portion of credit.

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