The elder statesman among quarterbacks who played for a Trinity League school isn’t ready to call it a career just yet.
Carson Palmer announced May 9 that he plans to return to the Arizona Cardinals for his 15th NFL season.
His 14th season ended Jan. 1 in a 44-6 victory at the Los Angeles Rams, and the former Santa Margarita High School star needed a few months to determine if his 37-year-old body would bounce back like it had in the past.
“You just have to give your body a chance to tell you,” Palmer said at a news conference May 16. “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.”
Palmer played in 15 of 16 games last season and threw 14 touchdown passes, his most since throwing 22 in his first season with the Cardinals in 2013. His nine interceptions were also his highest total since he was intercepted 13 times with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006.
Palmer appeared to have less arm strength last season, so he isn’t throwing the football this spring in hopes of having a stronger arm from start to finish next season.
“I’m really doing everything except for throwing a football,” Palmer told the Arizona Republic. “Working out, lifting, footwork. … All the muscles around the shoulder you can work without throwing a football. I’m just cutting back on all the throws.”
Palmer could face another former Trinity League quarterback twice in division play this season.
Matt Barkley signed with the San Francisco 49ers in early March and the former Mater Dei star is expected to compete against Brian Hoyer for the starting job. The 49ers play in the four-team NFC West along with the Cardinals, Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
Barkley played for the Chicago Bears last season and started the last six games after Jay Cutler was injured. One of the quarterbacks the Bears picked up in the offseason is Mark Sanchez, who played for Santa Margarita.
Palmer, Sanchez and Barkley each starred at USC over a 10-year stretch.
As many as four former Trinity League quarterbacks could start in the Pac-12 Conference this fall, though none for USC.
Josh Rosen, a graduate of St. John Bosco in 2015, was the opening-game starter for UCLA the past two years and is in line to start the season opener against visiting Texas A&M on Sept. 3 at the Rose Bowl.
Servite grad Travis Jonsen in the running for the starting job at Oregon, K.J. Costello of Santa Margarita is battling for the starting spot at Stanford, and Chase Forrest of Mater Dei is in the hunt at California.
Tyler Lytle of Servite, who will be a freshman at Colorado this fall, will try to secure the back-up role behind sophomore quarterback Steven Montez.
And the biggest standout quarterback in the Trinity League, Mater Dei junior-to-be J.T. Daniels, received a coveted scholarship offer from Stanford during a campus visit the first week of May.
Many believe Daniels will eventually have an NFL career as long as Palmer’s.