Palmer told reporters after a workout Thursday that other receivers have to fill Ochocinco's role during the voluntary practices, which throws the offense out of whack. The Bengals have a bevy of new receivers, including free agent Antonio Bryant.
Ochocinco customarily spends the offseason out of town working out on his own. He had been on "Dancing With the Stars" in Los Angeles and now is working on a dating show for cable television. He's required to be in Cincinnati next week for a minicamp.
The Bengals have made changes in the passing game, which struggled last season. They're also trying to figure out where the newcomers fit.
"It would be great to have our No. 1 receiver here and working him and building it around him," Palmer said. "We've tried moving guys around. Maybe they're trying to find a new No. 1 receiver because it's hard to work your offense in without that guy around. We've moved Antonio (Bryant) around, he's been playing some spots.
"It's hard to tell and say because we're looking for a No. 2 and (No.) 3 receiver without a No. 1."
Ochocinco, 32, is entering the final year of his contract. He lobbied for a trade two years ago, but the Bengals refused, so he groused. However, Ochocinco returned to form last season, helping Cincinnati win the AFC North with 72 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns.
After Palmer made his comments Thursday, Ochocinco posted on his Twitter feed: "I missed what my quarterback said about me not being at (practices) they aren't even mandatory ... Football is 2nd nature, living my life will always be first NFL (equals) not for long, when its time to play (I) will be ready."
Later, Ochocinco tweeted teammate Rey Maualuga: "tell Carson when I see him I'm gonna Hulk Hogan leg drop (him) then tie him to the goalpost and throw wet toilet paper at him!"
Palmer said Ochocinco should be able to catch up on the offensive changes when the receiver returns to the team.
"We've got plenty of time to keep working on it, and once he (Ochocinco) gets back in shape and the flow of things, we'll still have enough time to be ready for the season opener," Palmer said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press