PHOENIX - Carson Palmer's retirement is a lot to process for Cardinals fans, especially the Birdgang's youngest.

"[It] sucks -- he's my favorite," 13-year-old Ryan Mercado said outside a Phoenix Suns game.

Mercado's friend Malik Coleman is also shocked by Palmer's sudden retirement from the game.

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"I look up to him. I want to play football. I want to play on the Cardinals team," Coleman said.

Carson Palmer hung it up one day after head coach Bruce Arians. The two arrived in the Valley together before the 2013 season, and helped build a fan base to the most popular pro team in Arizona.

Dave Burns has been covering this team through Palmer's entire run with the Cardinals, and he thinks Palmer's legacy is cemented.

"I think he will go down as the second greatest quarterback who ever played for the Cardinals outside of Kurt Warner," Burns said.

The abrupt dismantling of an era is the only thing fans on his radio show on 98.7 FM are talking about right now.

"The fans are absolutely trying to figure out if they can keep this going. Is that possible when you lose your coach, when you lose your quarterback, when there's so much uncertainty?" Burns said.

Things will be different next season. Maybe better, maybe worse, but in the end it seems fans have an appreciation for the good times.

"He's been a great ambassador for Cardinal football. He's been big for this amazing era the Cardinals have had," Burns said.