By Steve Corkran
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 7:26 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson talked about what a whirlwind 12 or 13 hours it was before his team secured a trade for veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. Imagine what the past 48 hours has been like for quarterback Jason Campbell.
On Sunday afternoon, Campbell was the unquestioned starter of a resurgent Raiders team, no longer fearful of being replaced by Bruce Gradkowski at the slightest provocation or misstep. This finally was his team.
Just before halftime, Campbell scrambled downfield, with Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita in pursuit. Fujita and a teammate tackled Campbell, as Campbell dived for extra yardage. Fujita bounced to his feet. Campbell stayed down.
Campbell had suffered a broken right collarbone, which set about a remarkable chain of events.
Campbell learned that he needed surgery to correct the damage and that he would be out for six weeks or so.
Surely, he would be back in time for the final month of the season, ready to retake the reins from Kyle Boller and finish what he started.
Wrong. No next man up here.
Boller apparently wasn’t good enough, in Jackson’s estimation, to hold down the fort, either. That, or Jackson simply found the opening he needed to find someone better than Campbell.
It’s worth noting, and remembering, that Jackson had a hand in Campbell being benched at halftime of the Raiders second game last season and that it was Al Davis who orchestrated the trade that brought Campbell to the Raiders last year.
Enter Carson Palmer, a player Jackson recruited to Southern Cal many years ago and later worked with when both were with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jackson hit the phone Monday, broke through Bengals owner Mike Brown, ponied up two high draft picks and sealed the deal for Palmer in advance of the league trade deadline Tuesday afternoon.
“Jason was the starting quarterback on this football team and did a fantastic job,” Jackson said. “Very unfortunate that he got hurt and had surgery (Monday). He is resting comfortably, and we’re going to miss him. Jason did so many good things here, not only on this football team but in the community.”
Jackson’s tone smacked of someone who had moved on. He certainly didn’t talk about Campbell as if he were part of the future.
“I am really glad to have had the opportunity to work with Jason, watch what Jason did and how he led this team,” Jackson said. “We’re gonna miss him and wish him a very speedy recovery. And hope he gets back in the building soon.”
Once Campbell returns, he’ll have to decide if he wants to be Palmer’s backup, play out the string and evaluate his options after this season. The Raiders didn’t trade two high draft picks for Palmer to have him be a backup.
Campbell’s contract is up after this season, and he turns 30 in December. Palmer turns 32 in December. The Raiders have Palmer under contract through 2014.
No one has heard from Campbell since his surgery, which took place Monday. It’s a safe bet that he isn’t thrilled by the Raiders bringing aboard Palmer after he had worked so hard to keep the starting job.
Can’t wait to hear what he has to say about what he thinks of the past few days’ events, especially those 12, 13 hours that Jackson called “unbelievable.”
That might be one of the few things Jackson and Campbell agree upon now that Palmer is the new flavor of the month.
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