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Struggling Bengals turn down Palmer's trade request

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Cincinnati Bengals shot down Carson Palmer's request for a trade from the struggling team, saying on Monday the starting quarterback is key to the franchise's plans.

The 31-year-old two-time Pro Bowler met with Bengals owner Mike Brown recently and requested a trade after expressing his disappointment in Cincinnati's 4-12 record last season, which left them tied for second last in the 32-team NFL.

"He's central to us. He was told that. We count on him going forward. He was told we were in no position to trade him," Brown said in comments posted on the Bengals' website (http://www.bengals.com/). "It would not be something we would consider doing ... we are not looking for offers."

The trade request from Palmer, drafted first overall by the Bengals in 2003, comes a year after he helped the team win the AFC North divisional title.

But Cincinnati could not carry that momentum into the 2010 season, where Palmer threw for 3,970 yards and 26 touchdowns but also matched his career high with 20 interceptions.

"Because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together, Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties," Palmer's agent David Dunn said in a statement.

Any move would be complicated by the ongoing labor dispute between the NFL and its players which could hamper any contract deals after the current agreement expires in March.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami)

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