In 2014, Carson Palmer's season ended with a thud, after his left ACL gave away against the Rams, derailing what had been a great season for the team. But the play -- in which Palmer's injury happened non-contact -- resonated further than just the Cardinals and their fan base. The ACL tear was the second in that knee for Palmer. When he tore it the first time, back in the 2005 playoffs, it was repaired with donor ligaments of a woman named Julie De Rossi, who had been killed in a car accident in Houston.
At the time, De Rossi's mother, Dorothy Hyde, found out her daughter had helped Palmer. She became a fan of Palmer's, watching from afar as the small piece of her child lived on as Palmer played his career. When that ligament tore again in 2014 and Palmer had to have it repaired again (this time with his own tissue), De Rossi's family figured that was the end of their connection with Palmer.
But it was not. In November, the weekend of the Cardinals' home win against the 49ers, Hyde, her other daughter, and her grandson -- De Rossi's son -- came to Arizona to meet Palmer for the first time and attend a game. It was all chronicled in a great NFL Films piece.
"She's probably watching me play thinking about Julie," Palmer said. "I don't want her to lose that attachment to me and those joyous feelings she gets just because this knee no longer has her Achilles tendon. There's part of Julie still with me."