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Carson Palmer 'excited' to return to Cardinals in 2017

The Arizona Cardinals will have the band back together for another tour in 2017.

Quarterback Carson Palmer confirmed Thursday he would return for his 15th NFL season.

Once Larry Fitzgerald announced last week that he would return next season, it seemed inevitable the quarterback wouldn't retire.

Palmer, 37, told the team's official website he wanted to ensure he was physically ready for another grueling NFL season.

"My intent was to take some time after the season to get away and see where I was physically and mentally," Palmer said. "On both fronts, I can say I'm ready to get back to work and prepare for the 2017 season. This is a phenomenal group with a very special opportunity in front of it. I know how rare that is and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of it."

Behind a porous offensive line, Palmer was battered in 2016. Coach Bruce Arians noted after the season that Palmer "got the hell beat out of him." The quarterback was sacked 40 times in 2016, fifth-most in the NFL.

Palmer's announcement is timely, as his $15.5 million salary for 2017 becomes fully guaranteed Friday.

Despite the disappointing season for a Cardinals team with Super Bowl aspirations, Palmer played extremely well down the stretch run of the season. With the pocket often crumbling around him, the veteran showed he still has the arm strength to stretch the field and fit the ball into tight windows.

With no quarterback of the future on the roster -- something the Cards will likely look to add in the draft -- the prospect of heading into the season without Palmer would have sunk any hopes for a phoenix-like rise-from-the-ashes season in Arizona.

After the 2016 season, Cardinals fans were staring down the prospect of watching both Palmer and Fitzgerald gallop off into the sunset. Instead, the hyperventilating in the desert can cease for at least one more season.

In what could be the final go-around for Fitzgerald and Palmer, the Cards need to beef up an offensive line that sunk their operation in 2016.

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