Last time Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer played at Bank of America Stadium, Greg Hardy knocked him out of the game and nearly canceled Palmer’s Christmas.
It was 2012 and Palmer was with the Oakland Raiders, who were playing in Charlotte just before Christmas. Hardy sent Palmer to the hospital and nearly spoiled the Palmer family Christmas.
“I got hit pretty good and broke a bunch of ribs and punctured a lung or kidney or something like that,” Palmer recalled Friday.
“I remember possibly not getting to go home that night and they were going to keep me in the hospital a couple of days and not going to let me fly. I think it was Christmas Eve and I would miss Christmas with a bunch of kids, which wouldn’t be good. I remember I did a procedure to puncture the other lung to get on the flight in time and be home for Christmas.”
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So, a reporter asked incredulously, the solution was to puncture a second lung?
“Yeah. I am not a doctor but that didn’t make sense to me,” Palmer said. “But they let me on the plane and that is all that matters. I wasn’t stuck in a hotel.”
Hardy is gone from the Carolina Panthers, having signed with the Dallas Cowboys last summer. This will be Palmer’s first time playing against the Panthers in Charlotte since 2012 since he was injured for last year’s playoff loss.
Big hands on a wet ball: Palmer got a bunch of questions about potentially bad weather in Charlotte for Sunday’s game. The contrast in weather was dramatic Friday: Freezing rain in Charlotte versus 75 and sunny at the Cardinals’ training facility.
Palmer said he has plenty of experience playing in bad weather from when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cardinals had the quarterbacks throw with wet balls in practice this week to at least somewhat simulate what Sunday might be like.
“Being able to grip the ball well (is about) the size of your hands,” Palmer said. “I have played in a lot of wet, cold, snow, wind, without a glove, and I am doing the same thing” on Sunday.
Kicker stuff: Former Clemson star placekicker Chandler Catanzaro now has that role with the Cardinals. Like most Arizona players he spent the week practicing in the longer, seven-stud cleats designed to give grip on loose turf.
Catanzaro said he’s kicked often in those shoes, including a sloppy game in Pittsburgh this season. The turf down the middle of Bank of America’s field was re-sodded before the playoff victory over Seattle, so the place Catanzaro would kick from should be more stable than near the sidelines.
But he’s taking no chances – go with the long cleat because great stability off his plant foot is essential to getting his weight through the ball.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell