CINCINNATI -- Jordan Palmer was packed for Phoenix, ready to
take his career to the Arena Football League, when he got a most
The Cincinnati Bengals wanted to know if he would like to try to
earn a spot as his brother's backup. They didn't have to wait long
for an answer.
He signed a two-year deal Wednesday that will give him a chance
to play behind his brother, quarterback Carson Palmer. Although
brother tandems have been common in the NFL, it's rare that two of
them get to throw passes for the same team.
"Someday we'll look back and laugh about it and think it was
pretty cool," Jordan said in a phone interview.
It's certainly unusual.
There have been dozens of brother tandems on NFL teams.
Remi Ayodele in Dallas, Chris and Nic Clemons in Washington, Jake Reed and Dale Carter in New Orleans, Andre and Kevin Dyson in
Tennessee are recent examples.
Having two brothers at quarterback, however, is rare. According to the
Elias Sports Bureau, no brothers have played quarterback for the
same team during the Super Bowl era. Koy Detmer was on injured
reserve for Philadelphia while his brother, Ty, played for the
Eagles in 1997.
The Bengals have had two sets of brothers play at the same time:
Jim and Ross Browner in 1979-80, and Ray and Archie Griffin from
1978 to 1983.
So far, Carson Palmer has had the more accomplished career,
winning the Heisman Trophy at USC before becoming
the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft. He led the Bengals to the
playoffs in 2005 before a severe knee injury temporarily set him
Jordan Palmer, who is five years younger, set school records at
Texas-El Paso by throwing for 11,084 yards and 88 touchdowns.
The Washington Redskins drafted him in the sixth round last year, and he played
in one preseason game before being waived Sept. 1.
He stayed in shape and hoped to get another chance in the NFL.
When that didn't come, he signed with the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL and was
about to head there when the Bengals made their offer.
Cincinnati already has a No. 2 quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick,
obtained from St. Louis in a trade on Sept. 1. The third-string
quarterback is Jeff Rowe, who was a fifth-round pick from Nevada
Like other teams, the Bengals add a fourth quarterback for
minicamps and training camp, giving them someone else to throw the
ball during practice. If Jordan Palmer does well, he could win the
No. 3 job or improve his chances of going to another NFL team
instead of the AFL.
"We both understand that this is a job," Jordan Palmer said.
"We need to keep it very professional. The fact that we're
brothers is something for on the side. My job is trying to make the
team, which is different from his job as the starter."
The two of them understand there could be some awkward moments
now that they're reunited in Cincinnati.
"If you've got two brothers and something happens on the team
that's not positive, from not playing enough to getting cut or
having an issue with somebody, you don't want it to spill over into
their relationship with each other," their father, Bill Palmer,
said in a phone interview. "You don't know how the other two
quarterbacks will feel about it, both of whom Carson has a good
"Jordan is just going to have to go in there and be cool about
it. He's pretty good about it, though. He knows how to handle
himself in that situation."
Besides spending time with his brother, Jordan Palmer figures
he'll get to learn from one of the best.
"I know I'm biased, but I think pretty highly of him as a
player," he said.