Four years later, Carson Palmer still won't talk about leaving Bengals

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Like any story, the one about Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer’s departure from the Cincinnati Bengals has three sides.

His story: “I’m not going to get into a 'he said, she said' situation with [Bengals owner] Mike Brown,” Palmer said. “We obviously disagreed, and it ended in a very colorful, heated argument, and we disagree with each other. That’s how it ended, but now is not the time or place to get into a 'what he said, what she said' type of deal.”

Brown’s story: "We sat here in the office on a couple of occasions and argued about what the future should be for him and us,” Brown told FoxSports.com. "Whether he really believed it or not, I rather doubt. But my argument then with him was, 'You're a top quarterback and you've got real productive years in front of you.'

"He would say to me, 'Oh, no. I'm all beat up. I'll be lucky to play another year or two,' which I didn't take to heart."

And the truth: Who knows?

Palmer, now 35, has led the Cardinals to a 7-2 record and is in the thick of the MVP conversation. He doesn’t want to concern himself this week with Brown’s comments.

“I know the truth and I know my side and obviously his side,” Palmer said. “You can’t worry about other people’s opinions.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who said Palmer looks “sharp” and has been playing “very well,” made it clear he didn’t want to get in the middle of a Palmer vs. Brown battle.

“That’s between you guys and Mike,” Lewis said to the Arizona media.

He added: “Carson plays for the Cardinals now, so we shouldn’t dwell on Carson,” Lewis said. “He’s a fine player.”

Brown wouldn’t grant Palmer's request to be traded before the 2011 season. Palmer threatened to retire, ultimately leading Brown to relent and ship Palmer to the Raiders. Brown admitted he still doesn’t like how the marriage of team and quarterback broke down.

“It worked out the way it did,” Brown said. “I have an odd feeling for Carson Palmer. I like Carson Palmer personally. I did when he was here. I regret it broke apart the way it did. I don't want him to beat us any more than he wants us to beat him. I'm sure that will be in the back of his mind.

“But other than that, I wish him well. I think he is a great passer. He really is. He's a special passer, very accurate. I look at him play and I see the player that we had when he was here. When he's on and playing the way he can play, he is a big-time winning quarterback.”

Palmer will face his former team for the second time since getting traded from the Bengals to the Oakland Raiders in 2011, but for the first time playing as the home quarterback. While Palmer said regards his time in Cincinnati in a positive light, he didn’t shy away from a question about Sunday night being like any other game.

“It’s not,” Palmer said. "Any time you play a team where you spent some time, and especially for as much time as I spent there, it’s not just another game. I’m solely focused on this and we’re solely focused on this.

“There’s obviously a little bit extra on it, but it’s a big game for us, it’s a big game for them, and I’m very focused on my job.”