The Facts: There is a part of Palmer that seems to be looking forward to retirement. When the 37-year-old is done playing in the NFL, he pledges to be fully done with the NFL. But when will that be? Palmer has now learned to hedge his bets. As he enters his 15th season, Palmer understands others would prefer a definitive declaration on his playing future, but he's not being sly when he responds. "That's a great question," Palmer said, "and I don't have an answer."
Diehards Line: Because even while Palmer figures to be content in his post-playing days, he is having a tough time reaching them. When Palmer was chosen No. 1 overall by the Bengals in the 2003 draft, he envisioned a nice career spanning 10 or 12 years. Over the past three seasons – his 12th, 13th and 14th in the league – he has thought a lot about walking away before then changing his mind. At the end of each season, Palmer is worn down physically, which, as he’s gotten older, has made him more open to the idea of retiring. But his mind has always been invested, and eventually his body has bounced back. Team performance could be a factor. The Cardinals were expected to be Super Bowl contenders last season, and thus it made sense for Palmer to return. The season never went as planned, and now the expectations have dropped considerably. If the Cardinals bounce back, maybe Palmer doesn’t retire at the end of this season. If he is kept upright the majority of the time, maybe Palmer feels fresher than he did at the end of 2016. What we know for sure, however, is that Palmer is back for 2017 and determined to make the most of it.