Kurt Warner Announces Retirement
An old man, at least by NFL standards, became young again Friday, as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the game at age 38.
In a news conference at the team's Tempe, Ariz., facility, Warner, said he was walking away from the game after 12 seasons while he could still walk.
Befitting the devout Christian that he is, Warner's career was defined by ascension and resurrection. He made it to the NFL after spending time playing in Europe, the Arena Football League and stocking grocery store shelves at a grocery store back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He helped two moribund franchises, the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, make it to three Super Bowls, winning two MVP awards and making four Pro Bowl appearances along the way.
Warner's career was not without pitfalls, however. Along with the Super Bowl trips, he was benched by the Rams, New York Giants and Cardinals. When he lost the Cardinals starting job to Matt Leinart in 2006, it appeared Warner would finish his career as a backup.
But after Leinart suffered a broken collarbone in the fifth game of the 2007 season, Warner took over the job and didn't give it back until Friday.
In 2008, he enjoyed one of his finest seasons, passing for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns as the Cardinals enjoyed a magical ride to the franchise's first Super Bowl, where Arizona lost in the last seconds to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Warner was almost as good in 2009, despite missing a game because of a concussion, as the Cardinals won their second consecutive NFC West title and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Immediately after losing to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, Warner promised he would make a retirement decision quickly. He lived up to that promise, taking fewer than two weeks to reach a decision that he maintains will be final.
Warner has admitted he likely will go through withdrawal from the game but has long said he had many other things in life to accomplish.
He and his wife, Brenda, have seven children, and run a charitable foundation, First Things First.
The Warners' charitable works include holding a winter coat drive every year in St. Louis, providing homes and furnishings for single mothers, working with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity and sponsoring trips to Disney World for ill children.