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Warner retirement aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on January 29, 2010 – 5:56 pm

In the end, it all seemed kinda anticlimactic.

Kurt Warner walked out and said, right off the top and with no big buildup, that he was retiring. And, save for a couple of moments when it sounded like he might get a little dusty talking about his wife and kids, there was nothing close to tears.

I suppose that’s how I am so certain Warner a) is making the right decisions and b) doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to pull a Favre. It seems to me guys cry at retirement press conferences most of the time because, down deep, they don’t want to be saying goodbye. They would rather keep playing, but for some reason can’t. I don’t think that’s the case for Warner, who made it clear Friday.

“There is no question in my mind I am leaving at the right time,” he said, and while it probably pained coach Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the Cardinals’ organization (and many, many fans), who are we to argue?

We’ve all known for a while this was a possibility. I’ll be honest, knowing how much Kurt liked to play the game and how hard he fought to pull his career up by the bootstraps after it was basically dead halfway through the 2006 season, I thought he’d play out his current contract. He said as much when he signed the deal in March. Obviously, though, things changed during the season. And truthfully, there isn’t anything else for him to accomplish that he hasn’t already. Would he have liked to have won a Super Bowl in Arizona? Sure, but those aren’t odds you can bet on, and when he said today he couldn’t – mentally or emotionally – handle playing another season, then you have to move on.

Another key point, something that is always possible as a player ages (Warner will be 39 in May): “I don’t know if I could have handled playing at a lesser level. I think that would have frustrated me.”

Some other thoughts here in the wake of Warner saying farewell:

– It was interesting to hear Warner talk about the time frame of his retirement contemplation – especially with the idea that the concussion in St. Louis, while it played a part, was only just a piece of the puzzle and that he was already leaning toward it being his last season by then.

– Warner thanked all three teams he played for – the Rams, Giants and Cards – for giving him opportunities. “It took three different teams taking a chance on me at three different times, three different situations, to allow me to accomplish what I accomplished,” Warner said. When you think about it, all three teams did take a chance. Warner was an NFL nobody when he got his start with the Rams, he seemed to be a broken-down player when the Giants brought him in, and when the Cards got him, it seemed like Warner’s glory was well in the past. You could see why ending his career strong – and changing the perceptions so many had of him (and which Warner hated) – was so important.

– I would be shocked if Warner doesn’t make the Hall of Fame. Whether he makes it on the first go-round after the 2014 season is something different. If Brett Favre retires this season (and I mean really retires, not retires until mid-August), that’s a big-time quarterback who’ll be in before Warner and then it’ll come down to who else is eligible. But Warner will get in sooner rather than later, I believe.

– Warner said his newfound free time will be spent preaching his religion and speaking to groups, writing (hey, maybe he can do some work for azcardinals.com!) and perhaps some TV or radio. Plenty to keep him busy. He did say he wants to have a hand in football in some way, but emphasized anything he does will have to work around him having plenty of family time. So once again, forget about him coaching.

– Classic Kurt, but he also said he doesn’t necessarily want to be remembered for football. “ I hope people remember anything is possible. I hope that’s what people remember more than anything else. Not the way I threw the football, not the games I won, but they remember here’s a guy that believed, that worked hard, and while things didn’t always go in his favor, he continued to press through and was able to accomplish great things.”

How could you forget that about the grocery bagger?

– If you’re looking for more, there’s a photo gallery from the press conference, a top 10 list of Kurt’s best games in an Arizona uniform, and a timeline of Warner’s years as a Cardinal.

– The retirement aftershocks will be an ongoing story with regard to the team. There is a lot to write about Matt Leinart and the QB position and where this team goes from here. But like Whisenhunt repeated once or twice after Warner’s announcement, there will be plenty of time to talk about that. It’s only January. Today was about Warner, and his amazing story.

As Warner was bouncing around to do the various radio and one-on-one TV interviews after the press conference, myself and the Republic’s Kent Somers caught him quickly just to shake his hand and say thanks. As has been noted many times, if a media member could draw up the perfect athlete, it was Kurt. As we delivered our thank yous, Warner actually apologized for not returning text messages we each had sent earlier in the week. Warner was on vacation in Mexico, and while he could receive texts, he couldn’t send them, he said. I had to smile. I just assumed he wasn’t going to answer the text. I am guessing he got more than a few text messages this week. Besides, what high-profile athlete apologizes for such a thing?

Kurt Warner.


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60 Responses to “Warner retirement aftermath”

  1. By Nadine Selvaggi on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    (Ah bummer..BUT) Happy for you Kurt! I hope in time you join Terry, Howie, and the rest of the guys in doing commentary!! That would be great!! Take care and God bless!!

  2. By scott on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    thanks for the insight darren. its been a tough day. like you i thought kurt would come back for the final year. all i can say is that the last 3 years have been a great ride.

  3. By fitz 4 mt rushmore on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, can you tell us what players were in attendance? Thanks to you & all the members of the Cards staff for bringing us news of this sad, but great day in remembering one of tha all-time Cardinals greats!!!

  4. By CARDSFAN1178124 on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    WHEN IS THE RING OF HONOR INDUCTION!?

  5. By mel on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    I believe we have learned how to win and how to be a winner. This team and this coach will not accept going back to what the past held. 2010 will be different but trust me, if we retool, and I beleive we will, it will be sweet like 2008 and 2009. Everyone believe. We have some great players and possibly a hall of fame coach . He’s done something no coach has done since 74. He’s done something no other coach could or would have done the last three years. He has made us champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. By bradfrmphnx on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Maybe time to work on that running game that Whiz has always envisioned for this team. With Beanie and Tim I can see that happening. That will also help to lessen the pressure for Matt to throw the ball. We have too good of recievers to go strictly to the run. But I think we will be running more.

  7. By Chris on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    darren do you think we have a shot at picking up donnavan mcnabb

  8. By Jess on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt is such a cool guy. It would be cool if he writes some stuff on azcardinals.com

  9. By mike hadzinski on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt-

    You are the man b/c of you the ARIZONA CARDINALS AND THE SUPER BOWL say it again the ARIZONA CARDINALS AND THE SUPER BOWL would NEVER have been possible we would have never even gotton to the playoffs this year and beat the pack you are an amazing athlete, person, coach on the field ,football general,SUPER BOWL WINNER,NFL M.V.P 2x you are a GIFT FROM GOD who blessed us with you to come here and play for us you are an inspiration to all the world AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER KURT WARNER IN THE NFL THANKS FOR PLAYING FOR MY TEAM THE CARDINALS AND THANKS FOR EVERYTHING WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE WHAT YOU MEAN TO CARDINAL LAND MY FRIEND I HOPE THE CARDS HANG YOUR JERSEY NEXT YEAR AND RETIRE #13 IM SAD BUT GLAD LIKE YOU SAID THERE IS LIFE OUT OF FOOTBALL AND ITS A CHAPTER IN LIFE WELL YOUR NEXT CHAPTER/STOP MY STATE CANTON OHIO BABY SEE YOU IN 5 YRS KURT THANKS AGAIN

    MIKE HADZINSKI

  10. By Felix Macias on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Wow ,, I just wanted to say thank you so much Kurt Warner for letting everybody know that the Cardinals are not the laughing stock of the NFL. You brought both pride and respect to the team and I’m realy gonna miss you .Much love,, Felix Macias and A cardinal fan forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. By tom manoogian on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    kurt,i have been a cardinal fan over 43 years,seen all the lows,and some highs,but man when you came to az,i thought I hit the lottery.we never met,but i always thought how cool would it be to hang out with you for a day.i just want to thank you for the joy you have brought me as a cards fan to watch you play.i’m 52 years olds,no children of my own,have 2 step children,always thought i was good to them,when i see what you have done,i think,man i could have done so much more.i just want to thank you for all you did for the cardinals,for bringing so much hope for the future for cardinal fans all over.enjoy your time away from football,whiz will make sure the cards keep going forward,i really beleive the bidwells will really try to do whats best to keep us winning,i think after all these years,they really seem to like this winning thing.it’s been a honor to watch and learn from you.

  12. By Seoulman on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    What kind of high-profile athlete remembers a single fan’s name the next day at training camp, spends 30 minutes alone with him chatting and praying, and makes him feel like the most blessed guy in NFL fandom? Kurt Warner. Thanks for the memories, Kurt, and may God truly bless you even more than He already has.

  13. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Fitz 4 —

    The only one I saw was Sean Morey. But I was in the front and couldn’t necessarily see everyone.

  14. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    CARDSFAN1178124 —

    I assume, given that he just retired today, that’s a rhetorical question.

  15. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Chris —

    Hmmm. Good question.

  16. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Jess —

    I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

  17. By Tyler on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt was right about his legacy. As much as I love football, it’s really not important. What matters is the way he did what he did. He always had a good perspective and know what mattered most. What he managed to do on the field is less important to me.

    I think his on the field performance merits his induction into the Hall of Fame, even if he wasn’t a great guy. The fact that he is a great guy just solidifies it for me. His induction will be a clear signal to everyone else in the NFL that they should follow Kurt’s example. They all should anyway.

  18. By john on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Good Luck Kurt may God Bless You! Let’s Go Matty L i have faith in you!

  19. By John on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    Let me start by saying I love Warner and he will be missed.
    But as we move on, Leinart will be fine if we shift to being more balanced and play better defense. A better defense starts with a passrush.

    So, I’m hearing there are issues with Joey Porter and the Dolphins. And yes, he is 31, but he has put up 26.5 sacks over the last 2 years. Being a former Steeler, is there any chance we; 1. sign him if he is cut. or 2. trade for him (a Bolden for Porter trade isn’t far fetched) ? We need that veteren leadership and fire he has since Berry, Okefer and maybe Haggins could all be gone.

    I would still draft a first day passrusher, but we could groom one under Porter or on the other side (depending on Brown) What’s your thoughts?

  20. By Eric G on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    By Chris on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    darren do you think we have a shot at picking up donnavan mcnabb

    —————————————–

    Chris, McNabb would be a terrible fit for this team. McNabb can’t throw the short passes. I prefer Leinart over McNabb. If we had a DeSean Jackson, then bring over McNabb. We don’t have a deep threat like that so no thank you to McNabb.

  21. By NMcards Fan on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    I am torn, glad to see him go like this, instead of being benched or getting hurt.
    Great quarterback, but most of all a great human being.

    As a team, Matt needs to step up, and I have faith he will, he learned a lot from Kurt if nobody really watches the game, Matt seems more humble on the field then when he first got here.

    Retire #13, I for one can never see anyone wearing that number again.

  22. By Ken Cadena on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt I want to thank you for great memories. I was a die hard Ram fan for years, and when you came along and brought us to the promise land, it truly was a blessing. When you left the Ram organization for NY i thought the ride was over. Then when you came to AZ and rerserected that franchise, I became a diehard AZ fan. Kurt you have brought so many ammazing victorys in the last decade for the whole world to enjoy and be shocked. You are my role model of a man, you have nothing to prove. You are in fact a HOF in Canton, and A HOF to society. GOD BLESS you and youre family. You are a class act and true warrior of sundays game. You will be missed.

  23. By Jesse G. on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    I just wanted to thank you Kurt for all that you gave to this team. Without you this team would have never had the success it did. You are an inspiration for all and a true class act. May God continue to bless you and your family. Thank you.

  24. By Pokemon on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    The last paragraph really says it all. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  25. By Jesus on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Isaiah 52:7
    How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

    Thank you for the great seasons, and thank you for living out your faith. May God bless you and your family.

  26. By Jesus on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    ok, its time to extend Dockett.
    I think he can beat DRC in a footrace.
    PAY DOCKETT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    John —

    I wouldn’t rule Porter out, but only if he is cut and only if he isn’t looking for a huge payday. But the Steelers got rid of Porter a long time ago; Whiz might not think he’s the guy you need either.

  28. By Eric on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    As a long time fan of the Cardinals, I have to thank Kurt for making it fun to be a Cards fan. A 3 year span without a losing season is huge when you look at the history since this team came here. THANKS KURT!

    Darren,
    Do you know what cap room Kurt’s retirement buys the team for this offseason?

  29. By darrenurban on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    Since there will likely be no cap since the CBA is about to enter an uncapped year, it’s a moot point.

  30. By Chris Knox on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Bottom line…..

    Kurt was, and is, and always will be a Legacy that formed a rebirth when he came to Arizona and accomplished what he did with this team. God Bless Kurt and enjoy your life hereafter football.

  31. By Billy Thomas on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    Again Kurt, thanks for all of the memories and for being such a role model and an inspiration to Christians everywhere. I look forward to following what you do in the next chapter of your life, and someday I hope I have a chance to meet you and your family, because you are all truly special people. As always, thanks for teaching us all to keep “First Things First”. I’ll never forget the impact that you’ve had on my life.

  32. By Former Steeler Fan on Jan 29, 2010 | Reply

    It takes an unselfish player to step away from a sport when he has big money coming and knows that he won’t have the drive to play at the level that he should.

    Also, let’s give Whiz credit for making the very difficult decision to name Kurt the starter at the beginning of the 2008 season. I think that most coaches would have made the easy and default decision of naming a first round pick (Matt) as his starter and naming Kurt as the (36 year old, experienced) backup. But, that’s the way Whiz coaches. He plays the players who he thinks are performing, regardless of their contracts etc. Otherwise, I don’t believe that the Cards would have gone to the Super Bowl last year or Kurt would have a chance to make the HOF.

    Oh, BTW, get off the McNabb fixation!!! He is NOT the solution.

  33. By Mr. Know It All on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    TO FUTURE NFL HALL OF FAME QB KURT WARNER THANK YOU!!!!! WHAT AN AMAZING RUN!!!!! ALL THE BEST

  34. By Ken Cadena on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt ment more off the field than on the field. His representation of the NFL was second to none. The TO’s and Ochocinkos should learn something from this man of men. He never forgot who he was, and what was most important in life. He is the only player that could not be bought. I live overseas and I am in the military. I watch every Sunday on our Monday at 0200 I get up so excited to see my cards and Kurt Warner at the helm. I will truly miss him for all his goodness and what he represents all that is good in humanity. I think the NFL should emulate him and his actions. You are one of the great ones God Bless, and thank you for showing us in TV land what really is important. Thank You Kurt Warner and your family.

  35. By Jeremy Bronaugh on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt,thank you for being such a great role model,and Quarter back.I’ve enjoyed watching you play a big part in making our Cards true Champions…THANK YOU!!!

  36. By Ken Cadena on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Go Cards please keep the winning edge. We love you Overseas. SEMPER/FI

  37. By Tbru on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    I think the ring of honor ceremony should come next time the Cards play the Rams

  38. By Kev on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Great career Kurt, will be a massive loss to the cardinals, but always the best to go out when you are still a success.
    WIll the cards keep trying Leinart? I say go for VICK!!
    Im pretty sure the baggage he carries is well and truly behind him.
    WIll add that little bit more to our offence, and with a full pre-season im sure he could be a massive asset

  39. By Devin on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren-
    How do the retirements of Kurt and Bertrand impact the Cards with the “Final 8″ scenario in the off-season? Do they get treated as a departing free agent?

  40. By darrenurban on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Devin —

    i don’t know for sure but no, I do not believe retirements count as “losing” free agents.

  41. By ndpenner on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    God bless Kurt. Thanx for the memories and for getting us out of the cellar. :)

  42. By Swoogleman/Mike on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    This is truly victorious moment in the NFL. I know some people don’t like Kurt because of his Christian faith but that’s their loss.

    I know Kurt would never say or suggest this but every team his has played for and the NFL should be humbled and proud to have had such a fine young man playing at such a high level while really being a role model to at millions of kids and adults. I am one man who has been touched and effected in a positive way by Kurt Warner. His example has caused me to reevaluate my life and what I am doing with it.

    In a time when a lot of athletes are making millions, doing drugs, getting DUI’s and actually killing people because of it, beating wives and girlfriends and who knows what else. Kurt Warner took the road less traveled and walked the walk. I know that he knew that in the locker room, on the field and everywhere he was, home or out in public he wanted to live the best he could as a Christian man. As he said in his book he ain’t no saint, but Kurt your a stand up guy.

    It should inspire us all to set the possibilities higher in our lives. Not just as athletes or making more money or whatever, but as people.

    Kurt I have been one of your biggest fans. Thank you for the memories and I for one won’t stop following what you are doing in your life. Keep up the good fight. Looking forward to talking with you in the clouds, maranatha.

    HALL OF FAME, RETIRE #13, CARDS organization.

  43. By Swoogleman/Mike on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    One more thing. Maybe instead of looking for Vick or McNabb or Farve ????????????
    There are a lot of grocery stores out there…………………………Think of the possibilities?????????????????????????????????????????????????

  44. By Al Hita from Los Angeles on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Am I sure glad I took my Family to see the Card’s this past December! We saw Kurt kick some butt! My dream was to see the Card’s play in Arizona and it came true. We were debating on going this year or next. I told my wife that we should go next season since Kurt signed a 2 year deal. Was I wrong!! Thank God we went this year or we wouldn’t of have seen him play at all. Good Luck with the rest of your life Kurt and thanks for the memories! Los Angeles Fans love you!!!

  45. By Wampag on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    What a guy, sponsored by Milk and Disney never has a bad word to say about anybody and really really cares about all

    you will be missed

    THANK YOU

    GO CARDS

  46. By Big Easy on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    The road to mediocrity has re-opened. Welcome back, AZ. You’re headed down the Ho-hum Highway now and are lost without Warner. Back to the bottom, now shoo!shoo!

    Sure is warm down here in Miami

  47. By Former Steeler Fan on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Enough already with the Vick and McNabb recommendations!!!

    Use a late round pick on a solid QB that fits Graves’ and Whiz’s profile and can perform in a year if Matt doesn’t pick up his game. After all, Sanchez did quite well in his ROOKIE year.

    Unfortunately for St. Pierre, his physical problem (back) probably precludes him from being a viable backup, so sign a reliable and proven QB.

    Or, trade Q for a proven backup.

  48. By Anks on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    Do you see the Cards looking at a pass rusher/OLB high in the draft? We took a pair of them last year, and I was wondering if you see us going back and trying to add another?

    Thanks,
    Anks

  49. By Dizzy Di on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Congratulations Kurt, you are truly a great man.
    Is there a chance of finding a quarterback for our team?? Matt has not proven to me that he can handle it.

  50. By darrenurban on Jan 30, 2010 | Reply

    Anks —

    I absolutely think pass rusher will be a draft priority.

  51. By Raul Vazquez on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt,
    As a cards fan, it is hard to see you go. But when I saw you confirming your retirement I truly could not feel happier for you and your family (First things first right ? :) You achieved and made possible amazing things in your NFL career, but I know for sure that your best performances and possibly the ones that will bring you the most satisfaction are still to come, sharing your faith and touching the lives of many people in a positive way. My grandfather used to tell me “It is good to be important, but it is more important to be good”. You are a good man Kurt, and just as you said during your press conference, God has many other goals pending for you to achieve, it is all part of a plan. We need more leaders with strong family and ethic values not only in this country, but in this world. Thanks for the red and white memories…WE DO THIS TOGETHER, GO CARDS !!!!… an amazing ride indeed. Keep the good work, in this new chapter of your life, keep going strong !!! All the best for you and your family.

    RV

  52. By paul on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    I am not a CARDINAL fan as I stick by my RAiders but I have much respect for WARNER as a footballl player and as a man. I have been to the stadium to watch him play in ZONA and really had a great time. I am still disgusted wtih the SUPERBOWL loss to the STEELERS but you guys still have a good, young team. One more good draft, MAKE A SPLASH IN FREE AGENCY and you are knocking on the door again. Good luck KURT….you have brought a new winning attidute to a fan base that was so desperate for it. Good luck CARDS!

  53. By K-DUB on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    Is Tyler Palko signed to another team? Do you think the cards should sign him back for another shot at the roster?

  54. By William Barry on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    Good Luck, Kurt:

    Coach Whiz will not let this team diminish in performances on the field..I wish Kurt only the best in the future years!!!!, maybe even as a broadcaster…

    I have full confidence in Matt Leinart…he has really progressed well watching Kurt…I feel we really need a pass rusher/or OLB…in the draft, and I’m sure we can get back to the Super Bowl….

    GO CARDS!!!!, and don’t fret about the Rams or Niners, or Seahawks….We will win the division again next year!!!!

  55. By darrenurban on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    K-Dub —

    Palko was signed with the Steelers, I believe, late in the season. I suppose there is an outside chance he could re-sign (if he is a free agent) as the fourth QB.

  56. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 31, 2010 | Reply

    Kurt would be a natural in the broadcast booth. He extremely knowledgeable and speaks just so effortlessly/spontaneously. He’s definitely in his element behind the mic or behind the pulpit.

    I wouldn’t like to see him on any national TV pre-game show though. Those shows are so overly scripted they are laughable. And to see players defend an arguement that they don’t believe in just for the sake of drama or debate is also phony. I remember Jimmy Johnson saying once (after he stated a hard-to-believe opinion that drew the disbelief of his colleagues), “Hey, I just say what they (show producers) tell me to say!”

  57. By Daniel C on Feb 1, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for a some good years, i hope cardinals will rise again after this loss, i my eyes he is one of the best QB’s in the NFL

  58. By brad kell on Feb 2, 2010 | Reply

    I have followed Kurt’s Career from 1999 with the Rams until he retired. I will miss watching him play. He was a great player, and is an even better person. God bless you Kurt and your family. #13

  59. By Caveman on Feb 2, 2010 | Reply

    Without Kurt playing, I no longer will have any interest in football…what a tremendous bummer this is.

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