By Stacey Pressman
Special to Page 3

It's too bad the women of "The Bachelor" didn't consult me before they set out on their mission to vie for the affection of the dashing young, pro baller Jesse Palmer. I would have told them straight up: New York Giants quarterback Jesse James Palmer is a big, fat liar.

Jesse Palmer
He speaks fluent French and is into organic food. OK, Jesse, we get it! You're a real catch.
Why am I hating on America's newest hot date? It's not hate; it's scorn and you know what they say about a writer scorned. ... Well, they don't really say anything about writers and scorn, but you know where I'm going with this.

Basically, I was hoodwinked. Bamboozled, even, by the handsome Canuck.

It was back in December, before all of this Bachelor hoopla, and Jesse Palmer was a second string quarterback for the Giants. He had just replaced an injured Kerry Collins, becoming only the second Canadian quarterback (the Redskins' Mark Rypien being the first) to start an NFL game. That's gotta count for something, eh?

So I went about getting a quick lifestyle-ish story on Palmer. It was during an interview over dinner that he showed me his conniving side.

The topic on the conversation menu was reality TV. I admitted to being hooked on it; Palmer copped to indulging only in MTV's "Real World" and an occasional "Average Joe Hawaii" episode.

I asked the question that spun the web of deception: "Do you watch 'The Bachelor?'"

"No I haven't seen much of that one," he quickly replied. "But what do you think of it?"

It never dawned on me why he asked for my thoughts.

It also never dawned on me that a scant six days later it would be announced that Palmer was the next Bachelor.

Punk'd, I was. No way around it.

Recently I got the chance to face this fabricator when I caught up with Palmer, who had just "returned from a two-month trip to Australia." Surprise -- yet another lie.

1. When we last talked, we chatted about reality TV for a good portion of the time. What was it like, sitting there, knowing the whole time you were duping me?

Palmer: (Big laugh) Oh, man, I was just dragging you along. It was great. (Laughs) It was so interesting to get your viewpoints. I thought it was funny. You have to admit it was funny.

You did tell me you were going to Australia during the off-season. Was that just a line for me or is that what you told everyone?

That was it. That was the big one. I told everybody I was going to Australia and had everyone believing it. When it got released a week before we started filming I got this barrage of calls on my cell phone from friends, from teammates, everybody I kind of told I was going to Australia were all calling me up and telling me I'm a liar. The guys on the team were leaving me messages "Wait till you get your ass back here in the locker room!"

But telling people I was going to Australia was good. It was actually a place where no one would find me and it's a good place to be for two months. Funny thing, there are still people who don't know about the show and who call me and ask me, "How'd you like Australia?"

2. If there's one guy who needs help finding a date it's an NFL quarterback, right? Do you really need a reality show to find a date?

No, you don't at all. What was so appealing about the show was that I think to some of my past relationships, and I've been with girls at times who were probably with me because I played football instead of who I was. I think what was appealing was that the 25 women I was going to meet did not know who I was or what I did when they signed on to do the show. So that was kind of nice.

3. When the producers asked you what you're looking for, what did you tell them?

I think the biggest thing I was looking for was max bench, the ability to squat, 40-yard dash time and if they had any previous injuries; knees, backs, things like that could probably hurt in terms of longevity.

No, the producers were always asking me if I had a physical type, and I didn't. I really don't have a physical type. They asked if it's blond, brunette. And I've dated a lot of different women in the past, from different walks of life and from different countries. Some were tall and some were short. I think the biggest thing I was looking for was someone who was honest, genuine, and sincere.

Someone who is very secure with themselves, what they're about and where they are going in life. I wanted someone who can be secure with me and what it is I do and be understanding of my schedule. Someone who is able to trust and not be jealous. Those are the big things.

Jesse Palmer
Just call him LL Cool J (that's Ladies Love Cool Jesse). He's got to sort through two dozen ladies to find "the one."
You're always kind of skeptical (about finding someone who's interesting). You don't know these women. You're wondering who you're going to meet. Going into it though, I was very confident. I knew I was going to meet 25 women who were probably all going to be beautiful, successful in terms of their careers with great families. I was really kind of open-minded going into the whole experience.

4. The show taped for about six weeks ... a quick courtship. You're not allowed to see the girl until after the show airs. How are you dealing with that?

Well, we talk on the phone everyday; sometimes a couple times a day to keep up with each other and see what's going on. You know, that's one of the hardest things right now, not being able to see each other and having to wait until the show is over before we can be seen together publicly. I think that's probably one of the biggest challenges right now.

Is this a marriage kind of a thing or a friendship kind of a thing? Oohhhhhhhh, I don't know. I think you'll just have to tune in and see. Interesting question though.

So when the show ends will she be moving to your apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey?

Have you seen my place? It's not that big. I think I have room for a monkey, but that's about it. If we do move in together, it will have to be in a new place.

5. It's no secret you dated Sue Bird at one time and that the two of you are still friends. When you told Sue you were America's newest Bachelor, what was her reaction?

I didn't actually tell her. It's funny. She called me and left me an interesting message. I think back during our training camp session last year. Something came out about Sue on the radio. I can't remember what it was (I remind him that she bet a radio station that if she didn't have a good assist-turnover ratio, she's let the radio host spank her).

Yes that was it, that's exactly what it was! So when I heard about it, I called her and left her this funny message about the spanking thing for her on her machine. So of course, as soon as this got leaked that I was "The Bachelor," I got a call from Sue and she totally got me back, left me a similar message

And she said, "It's funny how things come back to bite you, what goes around comes around." It was definitely funny. We haven't had a chance to talk too much in the last couple months but I try to stay in touch with her as much as possible.

6. Tell me about your free agent status. Do you see yourself back with Giants?

Yes, I definitely do. I'm very confident and excited about coming back and playing with New York again. Obviously being a restricted free agent, I think we have until April 16th to sign so we're just waiting on that.

7. None of your daily football workouts made it in the show, but I heard the show hired a personal trainer for you to stay in football shape. What was your conditioning like while filming the show?

Usually in the days, you can wake up and we didn't have to be doing anything until (noon). Though with this trainer, I was losing sleep 'cause I'd wake up at 8:30 a.m., have breakfast and then my trainer was picking me up at 9 a.m. We weren't getting back until 12. We worked out at the Gold's Gym in Venice Beach at the Mecca for a little while. Then there were a bunch of different gyms we ended up going to in the area, and he really put me through a great workout.

Tim Trost was the trainer. He was awesome. He used to be Semper Fi. He has a company called Results in the LA area and he trained other celebrities, just a ton of people. His workouts were grueling, very high intensity. Everything we did was football specific. Sprints and agility to throwing which would be good for a quarterback, working on shoulder and the stabilizing muscles.

Jesse Palmer
Going from second string QB to "The Bachelor" is quite a leap for this NY Giant.
These workouts were brutal; I was throwing up in some of them because they were really tough. He got me in the best shape I've ever been in. I feel great right now.

8. Lately you've been in magazines, doing all sorts of photo shoots. You're going from a relatively minor public figure to, at least over the next few months, prominent celebrity status. How do you deal with that so it doesn't become a distraction to football?

I wouldn't say prominent celebrity status but right now I'm pretty happy to be back in New York. My days are pretty much filled with workouts in the morning, I'm at the facility at 7:30 a.m., and I usually don't get out of there till 1 p.m. In terms of photo shoots, there's been lots of interviews but it's all being coordinated around the football schedule. So far it hasn't been that hectic. It's actually kind of nice. It allows me to focus on football and keep that my priority.

9. Tell me a little bit about the guys in the locker room and how they're treating you. It's no secret you were one the most ribbed guys in the locker room because you're pretty vocal about your Canadian pride.

It will double down. It's been exciting. It was a big secret for such a long time. I'm actually having a big party at my place in Hoboken the night it airs. All my teammates and their wives are going to come over. I'm having it catered but it will probably end up being a roast in my honor. The ribbing is gonna get worse, and it will be that way for the next couple of weeks. I've already had some pictures of me put up in my locker. The guys have been taking cut outs from the newspaper and magazines and sticking them in my locker. But I'm OK with it all.

10. How hard is it gonna be for you to sit there and watch with all the guys and not say, "Hey, guys, that's the girl."?

I've been good about it so far. I think I'll be OK. And what's been great about it is a lot of the guys respect the fact that I can't talk about it. They always say stuff like "I know you can't talk about it but just tell me this..." So far it's been pretty good. But it will be difficult if my face doesn't light up when she comes on screen and for it to be that obvious. So far I've been able to play it well.

A lot of people wonder, can you honestly meet a girl on a television show, go out on five dates with her and know that you want to spend the rest of your life with this woman? Most people's responses are obviously skeptical but at the same time, for me growing up, that's almost kind of what my parents did, and it worked out, so it's interesting. My parents eloped after five months of knowing each other and 26 years later they're still together. There are a lot of parallels.

Stacey Pressman is a freelance producer for ESPN and a contributing writer to Page 2 and "The Jump" at ESPN The Magazine. She can be reached at StaceyPressman@aol.com.