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Carson & Kitna


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Where would Carson be developmentally w/o the support of Kitna???

These two have an awesome bond and friendship that has been a tremendous boost for Carson...

Support role is Kitna's star turn

As starter or backup, quarterback's happy to do what's needed

By Paul Daugherty

Enquirer staff writer

Jon Kitna doesn't have designs on regaining the starting quarterback job from Carson Palmer. "This is Carson's team," he said.

Getty Images/Ezra Shaw


Gather 'round, youth league coaches, high school coaches and teachers of all stripes. Parents and athletes and administrators - and anyone else who forgets games are called games for a reason - listen up:

"When you're given a role, you do your role. People in this league gripe and moan when they don't agree with their situation. Griping and moaning isn't the way to handle it. You work harder and get ready for when your time does come."

Clip and save.

"People have said they've been impressed with my character and integrity. It's not me. It's Jesus Christ who lives in me. All I do is the best I can. There are certain things I can't control. I'm going to (play) my role wholeheartedly."

Find scissors, get tape. Locate refrigerator door.

"People want to say it's a disappointment you didn't get a chance to start this year. Man, I didn't have a chance to be in this league, and this is Year Nine, so how could anything be a disappointment?"

Open mind wide. Let words live there. Permanently.

Jon Kitna must be nuts. Kitna must go home at night to his wife, three kids and two adopted cousins, to Mars. There's nobody else like him in the NFL, maybe in all of pro sports.

"No way, not even close," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "Whether he plays another snap or another 10 years, he feels like he has been lucky. He enjoys every moment."

Kitna's out there, all right.

"I had hoped I had played my last down here," he said Monday. "I don't want to (play) under these circumstances. But this is the lot I've been given."

Suddenly, being a starting quarterback in the NFL seems like oral surgery.

But let's get this straight, so no one cracks cynical:

Jon Kitna had the best season of his career last year. He's 32 years old, in the prime of his football life. Kitna could start for 10 teams right now.

You think the Bears, Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys, 49ers and Browns wouldn't be better instantly with Kitna?

And yet ...

"This thing has been running pretty good without me. I don't want to put my personality on it. This is Carson's team. I want to be an extension of him," Kitna said Wednesday.

Is this guy for real?

Yes, he is.

Hard to believe. Damned near impossible. Pro jocks are selfish and vain. They have to be. Their careers are short. They have to make it while they can. The same traits that can alienate them to the rest of us - the cockiness, arrogance and ego - are the very ones helping them succeed.

Rare is the successful jock who preaches humility. Then lives it. "That's not what you see all the time in this league," Kitna admitted. "The guys that go off are the ones who sell newspapers."

Kitna's frequent and public tributes to his faith might make you squirm. But his faith is as much a part of him as his throwing arm. It determines everything he does. His life is a Serenity Prayer.

Kitna figures backing up Carson Palmer is what "glorifies (God) the most." So he rolls with it, happily.

"What other quarterback coming off that kind of year would do that?" offensive tackle Willie Anderson wondered. "If there had been any hint of negativity by Kitna, this whole project would have fallen apart. Kitna had a group of us behind him. For him to say, 'Y'all go with Carson,' that eased the process for us."

Kitna has a year left on a two-year contract extension. He's making backup QB money. He's a bigger steal than General Motors at $1 a share, and he doesn't want to leave. Kitna likes the local conservatism, the good suburban schools, the sense of community. You can see him at most Lakota East High football and basketball games, watching his cousin Casey play.

Kitna probably will start Sunday against Buffalo, because Palmer looks like he needs a Purple Heart: Leg brace, soft cast, crutch. Not that starting matters to Kitna, who knows what does.

"My family loves it here. We're entrenched in this community. There's a lot more involved than just playing football. Being a starter somewhere may not always be the best thing for my family," said Jon Kitna.

Cut and paste.

E-mail pdaugherty@enquirer.com

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Solid work by Daugherty.

As important as Marvin Lewis' hire was to changing the fortunes of this franchise, Kitna's decision to stick around without complaint and throw himself into helping to develop Carson has been almost as important.

A nice reminder of what Kitna has brought to the team.

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seems like we have some quality human beings on this team. Kitna, Big Willie (the heart & soul), Rudi. CP strikes me as another stellar guy. These are the type of people who have the character neccesary to win championships. Having great players who don't want to be a part of the team (do I need to mention any names?) will get you nowhere fast. Fortunately, Marvin has the infinate wisdom to recognize this fact even though it seems to elude most others (again, do I need to mention any names?) I am really becoming so proud to call myself a fan of the Bengals!

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