Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer will rest this week while getting more medical opinions on a sore passing elbow that could sideline him for much more than the next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His two Pro Bowl receivers say he ought to pack it in for the season.
Palmer will miss his third game because of the elbow, injured when his arm was hit as he threw a pass during a 26-23 overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 21. He played against Dallas two weeks later but backed off because the injury limited his throwing ability.
Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Palmer for a 26-14 loss to the New York Jets last Sunday. Palmer stayed behind in New York after the game and got a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek, who works with the Mets. Altchek agreed with the Bengals that a cautious approach was best.
Following the loss to the Jets, Coach Marvin Lewis said the injury involves a tendon in Palmer's elbow. The quarterback has said it could take up to two months for the injury to heal completely.
Fitzpatrick will make his third start of the season against the Steelers (4-1), who lead the AFC North and have won their last six games at Cincinnati. The Bengals are 0-6 for the sixth time in 18 years.
"I think the issue with (Palmer) is a lot more serious than playing this year," receiver Chad Ocho Cinco said. "We're talking about his career in general. If it means sitting out this year or play another 20 or who knows how long he'll be able to go, I think it'd be in his best interests to sit out."
Lewis said doctors agree on the nature of the injury, but there is some uncertainty over the best treatment.
"It's just what kind of rest period and what is the best course of action if that doesn't help it mend," Lewis said. "Right now, surgery is not an option."
Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh agreed with Ocho Cinco that it would be best for the team long-term to rest Palmer for the remainder of the season.
"Whether that will happen, I'm not sure," Houshmandzadeh said. "Carson wants to play; he's a veteran. But it would be the smart thing to do."
Henry promises to be good
Bengals receiver Chris Henry is surprised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came down so hard on Cowboys defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Jones was suspended for at least four games on Tuesday, punishment for an alcohol-related scuffle earlier this month with one of his bodyguards at a private party. The suspension will be extended if he doesn't follow the league's treatment plan.
Henry and Jones, former teammates at West Virginia, have been the biggest offenders of the league's conduct policy, earning repeated suspensions. The two have kept in touch since they entered the NFL in the 2005 draft but haven't talked since the suspension was announced.
"It was a surprise," Henry said Wednesday. "When I did talk to him, he just told me he didn't think it would be anything, really. I don't know. I guess the commissioner really ain't putting up with anything, especially being in his situation and my situation."
Jones was drafted in the first round by Tennessee in 2005. He was arrested six times and involved in a dozen incidents requiring police intervention. He was suspended for all last season, and the Titans traded him to the Cowboys in April.
Henry has been arrested five times since the Bengals drafted him in the third round in 2005, and he was suspended by the league three times for a total of 14 games.
"I'm concentrating on football and off the field with my family every day, and that's all I plan on doing," Henry said. "(Goodell) ain't going to have any problems with Chris Henry."
Mayor calls for support
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is urging citizens to support the Bengals — and he's doing so by tailgating before the winless team faces the Steelers on Sunday.
Some Bengals fans are struggling to find much enthusiasm. Many are selling tickets well below face value.