Jesse Palmer, a free-agent-to-be backup quarterback for the NFL's New York Giants, will try to win the hearts of 25 women on the next installment of ABC's dating show, which will debut in April.
"To have an NFL quarterback as a Bachelor is a real coup," the show's creator, Mike Fleiss, says in a statement. "If you lined up all the greatest bachelors who have ever applied to be on the show, Jesse would definitely be our No. 1 draft pick."
In real life, Palmer was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in the 2001 NFL Draft. The University of Florida product didn't see game action in his rookie season and has appeared in eight games over the past two years, starting the last three for the Giants in 2003 after regular starter Kerry Collins went down with an injury. Former Miss Canada Lynsey Bennett, whom Palmer has called a "friend," spoke with the New York Giants backup quarterback Wednesday night
and said he was "gung-ho" about appearing on the show. But Bennett said she was caught off guard by the news and has concerns about his career.
"I asked him about that because I was surprised," she said. "I know how serious he is about football and I know all this will be over before training camp starts. But training-wise, I think he should focus on something else
." Bennett, it should be noted, says she and Palmer began dating last summer and were together as recently as Jan. 2 for her 24th birthday party
at an Ottawa nightclub.
The Giants offered a terse "no comment" on Palmer's offseason plans Thursday. New head coach Tom Coughlin is an old-school disciplinarian, and there's also the savage teasing Palmer will no doubt endure next season. Palmer was already among the most-ribbed Giants in the locker room, because he was always promoting Canada to his American teammates. "We tease him a lot. You know, call him an immigrant and ask him when his green card expires," linebacker Nick Greisen said last month. Now, just think of how bad it will get, given the new material.
Jesse Palmer has seen little action in three professional seasons. New York papers began speculating that he wouldn't be returning as early as last summer. Then, this week, Palmer's luck soured when Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Sean Payton, who was the Giants' quarterbacks coach the previous two seasons, failed to land the Oakland Raiders head job even after numerous reports said it was a done deal.