What we feared has finally happened: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner today announced his retirement from football.
There's some good news and some bad news following Warner's press conference to announce his departure.
The bad (obviously) is that the Cardinals must say goodbye to a great quarterback, a future Hall-of-Famer. The good is that, unlike Brett Favre, Warner didn't drag out his decsion through training camp, preventing the team from making alternative plans.
Oh yeah, and he didn't weep like a pussy at his press conference.
Warner played in the NFL for 12 seasons, including five with the Cardinals. In that time, Warner went to three Super Bowls -- winning one with the St. Louis Rams in 1999 -- and was named the NFL's MVP twice, in 1999 and 2000.
Warner's career hit a few snags over the years. He went undrafted when he graduated from Northern Iowa University in 1994, but made the Green Bay Packers practice squad for the 1994 season.
After getting no love from the NFL, Warner spent three years playing arena football for the Iowa Barnstormers and a single season playing for the Amsterdam Admirals in the NFL's botched European adventure, NFL Europe.
Warner made it back to the NFL with the Rams in 1998 but was let go after six seasons and two Super Bowl appearances. Early in the 2002 season, he threw seven interceptions and broke his finger, which lost him his gig as the team's starter.
Warner's time with the Cardinals wasn't always as rosy as it's been the last two seasons. He lost his starting job with the Cards twice, and in 2006, when the team drafted Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart from USC, Kurt's career seemed to be hanging by a thread.
The Cardinals went with Leinart as their starter for the 2007 season, but that's when Matt Leinart got all Matt Leinart, and the veteran Warner was given back the reins.
Warner took the Cards to the Super Bowl last year and took the team to the playoffs again this season.
The Cardinals may be in some trouble in the quarterback department without Warner. The obvious choice to replace him is Leinart, but several receivers have expressed a lack of confidence in the young quarterback.
Warner says he plans to spend his new-found free time preaching, spending time with his family, and working with his charity, the First Things First Foundation, a Christian children's organization founded by Warner and his wife Brenda.
And, also unlike Favre, we don't see Warner un-retiring next year. And the next.
After that monster hit he took near the end of the New Orleans game, he'd be a fool to risk any more trauma to his concussion-prone body.
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