What Happened to Carson Palmer and Where is He Now?
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Former NFL quarterback Carson Palmer retired from football in 2018 after 14 seasons in the league with the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals.

Injuries hampered Palmer’s career, forcing him to miss significant parts of four different seasons. By the time he called it quits, Palmer had three Pro Bowl appearances under his belt, and just one playoff win. He never made a Super Bowl appearance.

It’s been three years since Palmer last played in an NFL game, so what is the former USC star doing now?

Carson Palmer Now

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In retirement, Palmer and his family moved to a small town in Idaho, where they’ve enjoyed a quiet life. The former quarterback is married to Shaelyn Palmer and together the couple have two children. Palmer’s main focus nowadays is on being a dad.

Up until the coronavirus pandemic, Palmer admitted that he hadn’t been to the gym since retiring. However, the urge returned during lockdown, and Palmer began lifting weights again.


Palmer is no longer suiting up on Sundays, and instead spends his time fishing, hunting and skiing. Additionally, Palmer often appears as a guest on various podcasts and radio interviews.

Football Career

Carson Palmer attended the University of Southern California from 1998-2002. He was named the starting quarterback in 1999, but he broke his collarbone after just three games and was forced to miss the remainder of the campaign.

He returned to his starting role in 2000, and won the Heisman Trophy in 2002, his final season on campus. In 2021, Palmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Palmer was highly sought after in the 2003 NFL Draft, and much like Joe Burrow in 2020, the Cincinnati Bengals made him the face of the franchise by selecting him with the first-overall pick.

Palmer would play under head coach Marvin Lewis, but didn’t feature in a single game as a rookie. In 2004, he started 13 games, throwing 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

Palmer earned the first of his three Pro Bowl selections in 2005 after he threw a league-best 32 touchdown passes and racked up 3,836 passing yards. The Bengals went 11-5 and made the playoffs, but were bounced in the Wild Card round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After another Pro Bowl campaign in 2006, Palmer struggled in 2007, recording a league-worst 20 interceptions. His 2008 season was short-lived, as Palmer tore an elbow ligament in a game against the Dallas Cowboys, sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

He bounced back in 2009, returning to the playoffs after a 10-6 season but was again defeated in the Wild Card round, this time to the New York Jets. After a 4-12 campaign in 2010, Palmer was traded to the Oakland Raiders for draft picks, one of which eventually turned into running back Giovanni Bernard.

Palmer spent just two seasons in Oakland before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 offseason where he’d play under head coach Bruce Arians and team up with legendary wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.


He suffered a serious injury in 2014, tearing his ACL in a clash with the Rams, an injury which forced him to miss the final 10 games of the year.

In 2015, Palmer made his third and final Pro Bowl, and led the Cardinals to the playoffs after going 13-3. The Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round, Palmer’s first postseason win, but were defeated by the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship.

Carson Palmer’s last season in the NFL was in 2017. The veteran suffered a fractured arm against the Los Angeles Rams after seven games, and was subsequently placed on Injured Reserve. Palmer became a free agent that offseason but didn’t attract much interest in free agency, and didn’t sign with a new team.

In January 2018, Palmer announced he would be retiring from pro football after a 14-year career.

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Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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