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Monday, January 9, 2006
Von Oelhoffen offers apology after Palmer's injury

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen spent half his NFL career playing in Cincinnati and still has great affection for the Bengals and the town.

Defensive Tackle
Pittsburgh Steelers

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
36 23 13 1 4 0

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 together."

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 last six.

"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 this season.

Asked if the Steelers were better, he said, tersely for a player who often is one of the most talkative in the league: "No."