Last year was shaping up to be a dream season for the Arizona Cardinals, who started 9-1 and had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Some of those wins, however, came without Carson Palmer, who tore his left ACL for the second time in his career.

The Cardinals lost five of their last seven games, including a 27-16 playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals in which Ryan Lindley threw for just 82 yards.

Now, however, Palmer is back, healthy and ready to go.

“He looks really good,” writer Darren Urban said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “In fact, if I had to put a finger on this week or so of camp for the Cardinals on what the top story would be, I would have to say it’s Carson Palmer and how sharp he looks. He’s in his third year of the offense, he’s very comfortable in that role, and the fact that he’s come back from this knee injury so well and there’s no problems with that at all right now, I think is remarkable and it bodes well for this team going forward.”

Of course, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Carson Palmer actually gets hit. That hasn’t happened yet in camp – at least not on purpose.

“Well, he’s the quarterback, so he’s not taking any contact,” Urban sad. “There was a brief scare in a practice a couple days ago when Tyrann Mathieu accidentally knocked a running back into Carson’s legs and he got knocked down and everybody kind of gasped. But Carson said he was fine (and that) it was really not that big of a deal. He’s not going to get hit in practice unless something funky happens. We’ll see how much he actually plays in the (preseason) games, but he doesn’t seem to be that concerned about it. Bruce Arians has already said that he expects Carson Palmer to play this preseason like he’d play any other preseason, which I would assume would include a handful of snaps in the first preseason game.”

Palmer completed 62.9 percent of his passes last season for 1,626 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. He turns 36 in December.

Some players may have thought about retirement after suffering a second ACL tear at that stage of their career.

Not Palmer.

“This could be good or bad, but obviously Carson had already gone through (ACL rehab) once before,” Urban said,” and I think that part of it helped him when he hurt his knee back when he was playing with the Bengals (in January 2006). So he knew what it was like coming back from an ACL injury, and I think that helped him a lot. He said multiple times that he’s in a position where, look, I know I’m an older quarterback, I know I’ve only got a handful of years left, and that also drove him to get back on the field and to be as ready as possible. He feels like this is a team that he can win with, and he knows he’s only got so many years left. That has pushed him. He was lucky in a sense that it was a non-contact injury and essentially what happened was his ACL just snapped. It was the one he had replaced, but he had no other damage to it. So as ACL injuries go, it was relatively simple and he was able to have the surgery quickly and he was able to have rehab relatively quickly, all things considered. He’s back to no limitations at all as he started training camp.”


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