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Jordan Palmer takes turn running Bengals offense

CINCINNATI -- They're the same height and almost the same weight. They have many of the same facial features. They use some of the same expressions. They play the same position.

And, for the first time, Carson and Jordan Palmer play on the same NFL team.

Carson stood on the sideline in shorts and watched his younger brother run plays during a weekend rookie camp at Paul Brown Stadium, a moment that was special for both of them. Jordan, who is 23, got to run some of the plays that his 28-year-old brother has mastered.

"It's great," Carson said, using one of their common expressions. "It's been so much fun. He's been living in our basement. We never had the chance to be on the same team because of our age difference. It's fun to be on the same team."

It goes deeper, of course.

When the Bengals signed Jordan on Jan. 30, giving him a chance to compete for the No. 3 quarterback job, two brothers who are closer than their age got a chance to do something they always wanted to do.

"It's exciting to have not only your best friend but your brother (here)," Carson said.

It's also a little eerie.

There's a striking similarity in the eyes, nose and mouth. It's hard to tell them apart by their faces when they put on helmets. They share some of the same expressions, although Carson's voice is deeper. They like to repeat a word for emphasis.

But when they walk into the locker room, they have their own challenges in mind.

Carson is entering his sixth season with the Bengals, trying to turn around a team that has slipped since its playoff appearance in 2005. Jordan is trying to get a toehold in the NFL after playing at Texas-El Paso, then getting drafted and waived by Washington last year.

Jordan doesn't want any favors.

"He's his own guy, and I think that's important," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We experienced that as we evaluated him coming out for the draft a year ago. He is his own guy and wants to make his own name. You like that about him.

"He's one of the first guys here in the morning -- I guess his brother must drop him off first -- but he's here all the time. My point is that he works hard. He has that same worth ethic that his brother has, and that's good. He knows he has a tough road, and he's willing to come in here and battle for a job."

If he wins a job, he'll make a little history.

There have been dozens of sets of brothers playing in the NFL, but few such quarterbacks. The Elias Sports Bureau says no brothers have played quarterback for the same team during the Super Bowl era. Koy Detmer was on injured reserve for Philadelphia while his brother, Ty, played for the Eagles in 1997.

Although Jordan does things his way, he's borrowed from his older brother's success at Southern California and in the NFL.

"I'm very observant," Jordan said. "With him, I've always watched him and paid attention and seen how he handles things."

Their lockers are in the same corner of the room, though separated by those belonging to No. 2 quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and tight end Reggie Kelly. It seems appropriate that they're close, but not too close.

Jordan spent the weekend throwing to the team's draft picks, undrafted college players who signed contracts, and others invited to try to win a spot on the team.

"I'm not in much different of a boat," he said. "I'm trying to claw my way back into the league."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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