Quarterback Carson Palmer will rest this week while getting more medical opinions on a sore passing elbow that could sideline him for much more than the next game against the Steelers.
His two Pro Bowl receivers think he ought to pack it in for the season.
Palmer will miss his third game because of the elbow, injured when his arm was hit as he threw a pass during a 26-23 overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 21. He played against the Dallas Cowboys two weeks later, but had to back off because the injury limited his ability to make certain throws.
Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Palmer for a 26-14 loss to the New York Jets last Sunday. Palmer stayed behind in New York after the game and got a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek, who works with the Mets. Altchek agreed with the Bengals that a cautious approach was best.
The injury involves a tendon in Palmer's elbow. The quarterback has said it could take up to two months for the injury to heal completely.
Palmer declined to talk to reporters Wednesday about the latest update.
"I think the issue with [Palmer] is a lot more serious than playing this year," receiver Chad Ocho Cinco said. "We're talking about his career in general. If it means sitting out this year or play another 20 or who knows how long he'll be able to go, I think it'd be in his best interests to sit out."
Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh agreed with Ocho Cinco that it would be best for the team long-term to rest Palmer for the remainder of the season.
"I would agree with that," Houshmandzadeh said. "Whether that will happen, I'm not sure. Carson wants to play; he's a veteran. But it would be the smart thing to do."
Later Wednesday in a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters, Ocho Cinco theorized that his decreased production this season might be a direct result of his drama-filled offseason in which he requested a trade.
"I think that may be part of why my production is down this year. To rant and rave in the offseason like that and then come back and expect to be productive, or to expect them to use me the same way that they used me in the past, is very unlikely," he said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"Right now, I made my bed and I have to live in it. ... There is nothing wrong with me, but it is probably deserving because of my actions in the offseason. It is like somewhat of a punishment. When you open your mouth, this is what you get. I understand that. When opportunities come, I am going to make the plays."
Ocho Cinco has 19 receptions for 216 yards and one touchdown so far this season. In contrast, Houshmandzadeh has 38 catches for 400 yards and three scores.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.