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Marvin Lewis: If Palmer comes back, he would be the starting QB

Andy Dalton, Marvin Lewis, Dontay Moch

Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton, left, a quarterback from TCU, sits with head coach Marvin Lewis, center, and third round draft pick Dontay Moch, right, a linebacker from Nevada, during an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)


Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has operated this offseason like Carson Palmer has already retired. He echoed that stance in a conference call with fans on Wednesday, but acknowledged that there’s another possible scenario.

“If Palmer comes back he would be the starting QB and we would groom Andy [Dalton] to be the QB of the future,” Lewis said via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

(This is alternatively known as the Esiason/Klingler plan.)

That quote could be Lewis’ way of sending a message to Palmer. It’s interesting to note Lewis didn’t entertain the possibility of dealing Palmer to another team.

“Carson feels like his time here is over. He feels like the best thing is to retire and spend time with family,” Lewis said.

And if Palmer changes his mind, he can still be the starting quarterback in Cincinnati. Knowing Mike Brown’s stubbornness, we still wouldn’t rule it out.