Carson Palmer had walked away from the Cincinnati Bengals, not American football. Eight seasons with the flaky franchise was enough. One season with the tempestuous twins, wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochochino, was more than enough.
Even though neither was brought back by the Bengals, the quarterback stuck by his ultimatum: Trade me.
The Bengals did not budge. So Palmer, due to make US$11.5 million (Dh42.241m) this season, stayed home in San Diego, throwing most days to former teammate, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and high school players, hoping the team would cave and get something in return for him.
As last Tuesday's trade deadline neared, Palmer grew discouraged and cut back on workouts. Then came the perfect storm that sent him to the Oakland Raiders, who are so dizzy with play-off fever that they were considering starting the rusty veteran today against the Chiefs.
"There is definitely a learning curve for sure, and I noticed that right off the bat," Palmer said on Wednesday after his first practice in 10 months. "But it was exciting."
Some 36 hours earlier, in the middle of the night, Palmer had received a text message from Hue Jackson alerting him of the deal. Jackson is not only the Raiders coach since the death of Al Davis, the franchise's monolithic leader, he now operates the entire programme. When the Bengals asked for two prime draft picks, Jackson had nobody but himself to consult for approval.
Since 2002, the Raiders have been on the outside, looking in, at the post-season. Suddenly, inspired by Davis's memory, they have re-entered the discussion. Last Sunday, though, they were left without a proven quarterback after Jason Campbell broke his collarbone.
No introductions were needed when Palmer arrived at Raiders camp. Jackson had coached him in college at the University of Southern California and with the Bengals, both as an assistant.
Palmer is a round peg in a round hole - a 6ft 5in, strong-armed passer in an offence that throws downfield to fleet receivers.
If he can deliver the Silver and Black to the play-offs, Palmer will be credited with restoring the Raiders' mystique that hovered over the league with great quarterbacks during the Kenny Stabler and Jim Plunkett eras.
But Palmer said: "I definitely have my work cut out for me as far as getting the verbiage down."
Palmer told The Cincinnati Enquirer: "I don't look back with any regrets. I gave it all I had."
Oakland gave up a lot - first and second-round picks - and cast the Bengals in an unusual light for them: Looking smart.