Former Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer and Pro Football Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann pay the Talk of Fame Network a visit this week to talk USC football and their days as Men of Troy. USC is our latest stop as we tour the most productive college football programs in America.
Palmer won the Heisman in 2002 and went on to become the overall No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL draft. Palmer paid big dividends, named AFC Player of the Year in 2005 and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2015 while passing for more yards than all but 13 quarterbacks in NFL history. That long trek through the NFL all began for him at USC.
“That’s where I really learned the West Coast offense,’’ Palmer said of his days under first Paul Hackett and then Pete Carroll. “I learned it at 18 from Paul Hackett, watching cutups of Joe Montana.’’
Palmer stayed five years at SC and it paid off. But the decision for him was an easy one.
“I didn’t want to come out,’’ Palmer said. “I just wanted to keep playing college football. I’d have played another year if I could. I never really thought about the Heisman. SC was just such a good place to play. I’m glad I stayed. It was a huge building block for me.’’
Swann was an All-America receiver at USC and has now returned to his alma mater as the school’s athletic director. One of his goals is to see USC return to the top of the college football world, where it was in 1972 when Swann was part of a team that went 12-0, swamped Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, 42-17, and won the national championship.
Was that USC’s greatest team? Many believe so.
“It was certainly the best in 1972,’’ Swann said. “It was the best up to that time and for a while after. It’s hard to compare one decade to another, but I like our chances.’’
Swann now hopes to give USC a chance to get back to its tradition of competing for national championships and producing NFL talent.
Speaking of talent, our Rick Gosselin makes the Hall-of-Fame case for talented former 1990s’ NFL all-decade defensive end Neil Smith. He collected 95 1/2 of his career 104 ½ career sacks during that decade. So why has he not yet reached Hall of Fame status? Rick tries to explain it.
You can also hear Hall-of-Fame voter Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area bring us up to date on the San Francisco 49ers, their draft options and the future of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
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