ALAMEDA Whatever emotions that are within Carson Palmer about returning to Cincinnati appear destined to remain there.
He started preparations in earnest Wednesday for Sunday's game against the Bengals, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003 as a Heisman Trophy winner out of USC.
Palmer came to the Raiders last Oct. 18 for a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013, his trade demands finally met after saying through his agent he would rather retire than return to the Bengals.
"I'm not going to dive back into that," Palmer said earlier this week. "To me, this is three seasons later, two seasons later. That was in the past. I'm here now no regrets."
Things have worked out well for the Bengals, who made the playoffs behind rookie quarterback Andy Dalton last season and at 5-5 remain in the postseason hunt this season.
Not that Palmer expects a warm welcome.
"I have a pretty good feeling how that's going to go," Palmer said with a wry smile. "We'll wait and see Sunday at 1."
Palmer's strategy in having the Bengals on deck is like some of his pass patterns: look one way, go the other. He deflected most inquiries into his Cincinnati days back to his current status with the Raiders (3-7).
"It's a big game, but obviously it's a much bigger game for our team," Palmer said. "We have to get a win. We have a lot of room for improvement, a lot of areas we need to improve on."
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis wasn't much interested in discussing Palmer with local reporters, noting the huge roster turnover on his team (28 of 53 players didn't play with Palmer) and the desire to move on.
He was complimentary when discussing his former quarterback in a conference call with Bay Area media.
"He's having fun. Carson loves to play football," Lewis said. "He's got a group of young (receivers) out there that he's really helping develop. He's really good at that."
The Bengals took cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with the Palmer pick in the 2012 draft. Considering the way Dalton has worked out, as well as the records of the teams involved in the trade, the national perception is the Bengals got the better of the deal.
"I don't think so," Lewis said. "I think it worked out for both. I am happy for him. His dedication to me was tremendous. I am really thankful for his time here. We started here as puppies, and he's done a lot for me. I'm glad for him, (his wife) Shae and his family that he has gotten this opportunity."
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who was traded to the Raiders in 2009 and faced his former team, New England in 2010, believes Palmer will enjoy the experience.
"As a player, it's a fun game," Seymour said. "I enjoy those moments. I'd just tell him to have fun with it, embrace it, understand the game plan and do what you have to do to win."
Et cetera Strong safety Tyvon Branch was on the field and participating Wednesday as the Raiders finished warmups and drills and began team sessions, a strong indication he'll be ready to play against Cincinnati.
Those who were not on the field were running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (high ankle sprains) and Seymour (hamstring).
During sessions last Thursday and Friday, McFadden worked out on the field with the athletic training staff after the media departed.
The Raiders did not make any moves to replace linebacker Aaron Curry, who was waived, on the 53-man roster and may not do that until game day, indicating the possibility of a promotion from the practice squad.