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Palmer's Stepping Out of Brother's Shadow

The Redskins selected quarterback Jordan Palmer, younger brother of the Bengals' Carson, in the sixth round (205th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. Palmer, who is 6-5 and 231 pounds, spoke with after the draft in an exclusive interview:

Q: You enter the league being known as Carson Palmer's younger brother. Did you talk to him as the draft unfolded?

A: "Yeah, he was with me all day [on Sunday]. We have a great relationship. He flew out here [to Mission Viejo, Calif.] to watch the draft with me. He heads back to Cincinnati for workouts."

Q: Do you want to break free from being known as Carson Palmer's younger brother?

A: "Oh yeah. I feel like I'm starting to come into my own. I'm ready to step out of his shadow. I understand that I have a long way to go and I have a lot of work to do. I've never been scared of hard work. I'm ready to compete and contribute, in any way possible. I'm very excited to be a part of this franchise. I think the Redskins are a great fit for me."

Q: Were you and Carson real competitive growing up?

A: "Oh yeah. We had some trash talking going [last week] when we were playing golf. We've been real competitive, but at the same time, the biggest thing I'm excited about when it comes to Carson is, we've never played against each other. He's four-and-a-half years older than me. We've played golf and wrestling, but we've never played a competitive sport against each other. In the NFL, we're in a different conference now, but I'm excited about the potential of what could come in the future."

Q: Did you have an idea that the Redskins would draft you?

A: "I talked to Coach [Bill] Lazor on Saturday. He was the only coach who took the time to call me, so I definitely appreciated that. There were some things going on with other teams, but in the back of my mind, I was hoping it would be Washington. When I was younger, I met Mark Brunell--that'll make him feel really old--and I've always looked up to him and admired him as a person and as a player. My older brother Robert and his wife live in Baltimore, and that's pretty close to Washington, D.C. So I was hoping that I would get a call from Coach [Joe] Gibbs, and I did."

Q: I have to ask, how do you know Mark Brunell?

A: "Well, in high school, my brother Carson was dating his high school sweetheart, and her sister was married to [former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman] Tony Boselli. So I know the Boselli family. [Brunell played for the Jaguars from 1995-2003.] I also know [former Jaguars and Redskins quarterback] Rob Johnson--I throw with Rob Johnson's dad, he was my high school coach. So I guess I'm in the Mark Brunell-Rob Johnson-Tony Boselli triangle. I know Rob very well. I've only met Mark a couple times, so he may not remember me."

Q: As you join the Redskins, what do you feel you need to work on?

A: "The first thing I want to look at is to really understand the concepts of the offense and the verbiage. I want to understand what we're trying to do as an offense, and that will come with the time. Early on, it's going to be huge for me to get some playing time [this offseason], and there'll be an opportunity for me to take advantage of the instruction by some great coaches. Beyond that, I feel you can always improve on your accuracy. You can never work on it enough, in my opinion."

Q: What do you feel are some of your best attributes?

A: "I feel like leadership is one of my best attributes. I've loved being a teammate and the camaraderie that comes with that. I think I did a good job of that in college. I actually know H.B. Blades pretty well and I know Dallas Sartz, so this draft class coming in should be a lot of fun. H.B. and I have the same agent and we played in the Senior Bowl together. Dallas played at USC where my brother played. But obviously, I'm going to have to come in there and learn the offense--and then play well when I get the opportunity. I think I can make all the throws and I think I'm intuitive enough to take in the instruction from the coaches."

Q: One of the themes of the Redskins draft this year has been how family background has played a part in each of the players drafted. How big of an emphasis was athletics in your family growing up?

A: "It was huge. Everyone in my family knew that all I ever wanted to do was be a football player. I did a lot of different things growing up. I played the violin for 10 years. I surf and I snowboard. I ran track and played basketball in high school. So I was involved in a lot of things, but all I really wanted to be was a football player. I think almost every guy in the draft will tell you that. We knew at a young age that Carson had something special. Whatever it is, he had it. We knew in high school, he was going to play in the NFL. It was pretty obvious. I watched him and learned from him. There was a seed in him, but he watered it every day. He studied and sacrificed. I adopted a lot of his characteristics and being a part of my family helped. Is that going to make me a great NFL quarterback? No. It's still up to me. I still have to make great decisions. We were not the most athletics-oriented family when I was growing up, but my family instilled three things in me: work ethic, coach-ability and toughness. Really, those are the three things I learned growing up and that Carson has always addressed. And I think those three things are part of what makes a great quarterback."

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