No wonder he doesn't want to spend the next nine months being
the city's most disliked man.
Von Oelhoffen's unintentionally firm tug on quarterback Carson Palmer's left knee during the Bengals' second play of the game
Sunday put Palmer out with a serious injury and affected the course
of the Steelers' 31-17 victory.
Afterward, von Oelhoffen apologized to Palmer, his family and
the Bengals' fans, saying no player ever wants to hurt another.
"Yeah, I hate to see that happen to any player," von Oelhoffen
said. "I don't think anybody on this team would intentionally do
something like that."
As Palmer lay on the turf before being taken off on a cart,
several Bengals players could be seen yelling toward the Steelers'
huddle. But von Oelhoffen said he didn't hear any remarks directed
toward him, and at least one Bengals player -- Pro Bowl tackle
Willie Anderson -- defended him after the game.
"I know Kimo. He's not a dirty player," Anderson said of von
Oelhoffen, who played for the Bengals from 1994-99 before moving to
Pittsburgh for the chance to become a starter. "Guys were
infuriated, but your first reaction is to defend your player. It
wasn't a dirty play."
Von Oelhoffen said the injury -- Palmer tore at least one
ligament -- affected his own play for at least a quarter.
"I'm not gonna lie, it affected me a little bit," von
Oelhoffen said. "That kid deserved a shot to play in this game.
It's always horrible when somebody gets hurt. We're all football
players -- we're together, we compete against each other, but we're
Asked what he was trying to do on the play, von Oelhoffen said,
"Sack the quarterback. What else?"
Von Oelhoffen said he didn't personally apologize to Palmer
because he didn't see him after he left the field.
"How would it affect you if you had just torn one of the most
promising quarterback's knees out? You do not like to see that
happen. But he'll rebound," von Oelhoffen said. "He's young and
he's going to be around for a long time. ... I hope he gets better
because he's a great player."
What several Steelers disliked was the insinuation that the
injury greatly influenced the game, and that they needed something
like that to win in Cincinnati, where they have won five of their
"I'm not going to sit here and let that be a reason to spoil
our victory, Carson not playing," linebacker Joey Porter said of
the Steelers' 14th victory in 17 road games over the last two
seasons. "This is the NFL and people get hurt; it's not the first
time someone's got hurt in a game. We've had people get hurt all
year. You take your wounds and keep on ticking."
The Steelers played four games without their own starting
quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, with two knee injuries, and left
tackle Marvel Smith also missed substantial time.
"We came away with a victory. If Palmer had played, I think the
same thing would have happened," Porter said.
Even if Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson didn't agree after
being held without a touchdown by Pittsburgh for the third time
Asked if the Steelers were better, he said, tersely for a player
who often is one of the most talkative in the league: "No."