Arizona Cardinals quarterback and former two-time league MVP Kurt Warner today announced his retirement from the NFL.
In addition to his two MVP awards (199 and 2001), Warner appeared in three Super Bowls (XXXIV, XXXVI, XLIII), four Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXXIV with the St. Louis Rams, and had the three highest individual passing totals in Super Bowl history.
Warner also is only the second quarterback in league history to lead two separate teams to the Superbowl, as he appeared with The Rams in XXXIV and XXXVI, and with the Cardinals in XLIII. That feat had not been accomplished since Craig Morton did it with The Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V and then The Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII. Interestingly, both men played for The New York Giants between Super Bowl Visits.
Warner played twelve years in the NFL. His story is legendary amongst football fans. In his words, ""I was an average, ordinary guy working in a grocery store, trying to make ends meet playing Arena Football, and then God entered into the equation, and he's done something pretty extraordinary over the last 12 years." That Arena Football playing, grocery bagging ordinary guy didn't see his first NFL action until 1998, when he was 27.
The following year, he took over when Rams' starter Trent Green was hurt, led St. Louis to the Super Bowl title and was named the league's MVP. He led the Rams to two Super Bowl appearances in three years, then struggled through injuries and demotions for the next five seasons, including his first years in Arizona, before proving himself again over the past three years.
As a player, Warner's legacy will be helping to turn around two losing franchises. As a person, he hopes people remember his perseverance.
"I wanted people to remember that anything is possible," Warner said. "I know there are a lot of people who gravitate to that part of it, that understand the struggle, understand that it takes a little bit longer to try to achieve your goals and that there are moments when you want to give up and you question if you should continue to follow your dreams."
Warner expects to be plenty busy during his retirement, starting with being a full-time father to his seven children.
"I'm going to watch them play football on Saturday morning and watch them grow up and enjoy their life and all the things I've missed over the last 12 years," he said.
A devout Christian, Warner also expect to be involved in Ministry work. Warner said he will "spend time preaching, spend time speaking, and hopefully being able to motivate people with my life story like hopefully I have and the way I played the game."
He also plans to do some writing, and says there could be plans for penning an autobiography in the coming months.
Warner will also stay busy with his charity with his wife Brenda, the First Things First Foundation.
He does not rule out the possibility of returning to football in some other form, perhaps as a broadcaster. "I think I have a lot to offer, but a lot of that's going to be determined by the time constraints and what it means to me in the short term. Because these days, the people up here (his family) are my priority and I want to make them my priority."
Thank you, Kurt Warner. You have revitalized a dying franchise in Arizona and made football exciting in a city that desperately wanted to support their team. You are a great person and an incredible player, and we in Arizona will miss you. Good luck in all of your future endeavors, and God Bless.