CINCINNATI (AP) -Carson Palmer is sorry.
Sorry that he blew up at receiver Chad Johnson for running the wrong route. Sorry that he's lost his cool during the Cincinnati Bengals' awful start. Sorry that his easygoing temperament has failed him on the field.
Not that anyone blames him.
The Pro Bowl MVP has vented his anger in the last two games, something quite out of character for the laid-back quarterback from California. A 1-4 start will do that.
``I think everybody's a little bit on edge around here,'' Palmer said. ``We have boards in the offensive and defensive rooms, and every time you look up at them and see our production and our record there, you're just naturally on edge because you have such high expectations.
``I have lost my cool a couple of times, and I apologize for that. I'll try to contain myself and be calm.''
Usually, Palmer is the club's voice of reason during tough times. When things go bad, he acknowledges the problems and accepts a bigger share of the blame than necessary. When teammates squabble, he tries to restore the peace.
Two notable exceptions have drawn attention and prompted those apologies.
During a 34-13 loss to New England, Johnson ran the wrong route near the goal line late in the first half, when the Bengals had a chance to keep the game close. After Palmer's throw was intercepted because Johnson wasn't where he should have been, the quarterback berated him on the field.
Johnson gave it back on the sideline, and was still jawing at the quarterback as they left the field for halftime.
Palmer was visibly angry again Sunday when his last throw was intercepted during a 27-20 loss at Kansas City. Palmer tried to get the ball to Johnson in a crowd, but the receiver slowed at the end of the route, setting up the interception.
``New England - that was on me,'' Johnson said this week. ``It's all on me. You can't blame him. He's the Golden Boy.''
That's Johnson's nickname for the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, one that's more good-natured than it sounds. What bothers Johnson, though, is that their outbursts are taken different ways these days.
When Palmer gets angry, it's a surprise. When Johnson vents, it's something else.
``As soon as I do show emotion, everybody's first word is 'selfish,''' Johnson said. ``You all know Chad better than that. You've been around me long enough to know that I'm about winning and that's it. One-and-four, if that's not enough to be frustrated about, then I don't know what is.''
There's more to it, of course.
Johnson draws attention to himself with his touchdown celebrations, his brash statements and his trash talking to opponents on the field. Sometimes, he'll be talking to an opposing player while his teammates are gathered on the field during a timeout.
When coach Marvin Lewis lashed out at his players for being ``selfish'' following the loss to New England, everyone thought about Johnson even though the coach didn't single anyone out. Johnson thinks there's a double standard among fans and the media because no one has called Palmer selfish for showing emotion.
``He's just like me,'' Johnson said. ``What if he throws a bad ball, and I do the same thing? I get in trouble, right? Isn't that right? There it is, I'm telling you. I hate that.''
Half of the equation should change. Palmer plans to leave the venting to the head coach.
``He's the one that if he's upset with an individual player or an individual referee that I've lost my cool on, I need to turn that over to him and try to stay calm and remain positive,'' Palmer said.
Palmer will be more selective in showing his displeasure from now on.
``I apologize for what I did in certain situations when there's cameras around and when there's people around, because that doesn't need to be seen,'' he said.
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