Ever since the San Francisco 49ers earned a berth in Super Bowl XLVII … how about we just use numerals? … Nathan Palmer’s cellphone has been blowing up like his nickname — ”NaPalm.” After all, Palmer signed a free-agent contract with the Niners mere days after last spring’s NFL Draft. The Elkhart native, who played at Central High School and Northern Illinois, then was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts in late September and had a front-row seat to the best team story of the year — the Chuck Pagano battle and then recovery from leukemia tale. A gripping experience for anyone.
Palmer was acquired to be an active roster player on an upstart young squad with an outstanding young QB in Andrew Luck, a team which scratched and clawed its way into the AFC playoffs. Had he stayed in SF, Palmer would have remained on the practice squad making practice squad money, though he could have been mentored by Randy Moss, a surefire NFL Hall of Famer, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.
No offense, Palmer said, but the cost of living in the Bay Area, which is high, as opposed to Indianapolis — less than three hours from Elkhart — and the chance to earn the salary of an active NFL player was too good to turn down. Way too good, in fact. Sure, being part of San Francisco’s run would be good for him, but in terms of his career, where he landed is even better.
“I wouldn’t change anything. (Being with the Colts) is a great experience, being around younger receivers, I felt a little bit more at home,” Palmer says. “Plus we went to the playoffs.” … Fans and friends, read that again, please. Nathan Palmer wouldn’t change anything. He means it.
As for the 49ers, who’ll play Baltimore in New Orleans on Sunday, he welcomed the opportunity under Coach Jim Harbaugh. “I’m happy for them. One of the reasons I went there was for that opportunity. I knew they had a great chance, potentially, to go to the Super Bowl. I’m very happy for them.”
Palmer has stayed in contact with a number of San Fran players, including wunderkin QB Colin Kaepernick, his roommate with the Niners. Palmer, though, has the bigger picture in mind. “For me, the NFL is not just about football. A lot of business people don’t realize that or don’t understand that.” Liking his situation in Indy is “more of a business decision.”