TEMPE, Ariz. — In the days following the Arizona Cardinals‘ season-ending win over the Los Angeles Rams, Carson Palmer’s head told him that he was going to play in 2017. His body, however, wasn’t so sure.
It took Palmer, who’s under contract through the 2018 season, almost six weeks to put to rest any questions about whether he’d retire following his 14th season. He announced on May 9 his intentions to play this coming season, but it wasn’t without listening to what his 37-year-old body had to say first.
Mentally, Palmer said he was never close to retiring.
“You just have to give your body a chance to tell you,” Palmer said Tuesday in his first news conference since last season. “It takes a while to get back to 100 percent for everybody, whether you’re 26, 36, whatever it is.
“I just wanted to make sure I can get back to that point because you hear guys talk about all the time, ‘My body just told me no.’ You don’t know you’re in that situation until you’re in that situation and once I realized I wasn’t in that situation, I started getting excited again that I was going to get another shot.”
The further Palmer got from last season, the more he knew his body would bounce back and he’d be able to play again.
It was a process that Palmer was figuring out as it presented itself.
“I was just trying to figure out what that feels like, if that was here,” he said. “And thankfully I didn’t have that feeling. I felt better and better as I got further and further away from that game in Los Angeles.
As he prepares for Year 15, Palmer said it’s too early to decide if this will be his last.
“For the last four or five years, you just got to wait,” he said. “You can’t get too excited. You can’t make any decisions in May. You can’t make any decisions in October, November [or] December, either.
“You have to wait until the season’s over and evaluate your body and your health and go from there.”