Even before the Arizona Cardinals lost to the New Orleans Saints 45-14 in the NFL divisional play-offs, there were rumours that their 38-year old quarterback Kurt Warner was leaning toward retiring after his team finished the season. . Now that the Cardinals are out, Warner faces a tough decision. Warner was knocked out of the New Orleans game after a brutal hit by the Saints Bobby McCray. In the past two seasons Warner has lead the Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance and another strong season this year before the loss to the Saints.
At an age when most quarterbacks who are not named Brett Favre are done with football, Warner was still among the most effective passers in the league. He threw for 26 touchdowns. That being said, how do you retire now? There are a few good reasons why Warner should not retire: He is still dangerous and respected throughout the NFL. Plus he has a great team around him. He has weapons such as Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. There is no reason to think that the Cardinals will tail off at all, unless Warner leaves.
On the money side Warner is due US$11million (Dh40m) if he returns for the 2010 season. He is already financially secure, but with seven children, every bit helps. There is also the Hall of Fame. Warner had three stellar seasons with the St Louis Rams in the late 1990s before injuries slowed his progress for a few seasons. At age 35 he came to life again with the Cardinals and resumed a great career. The problem is that the Hall of Fame voters are still on the fence over Warner. If he puts together another strong season with the Cardinals at age 39 and works in another Super Bowl appearance, he would be in the hall for sure.
But there are also reasons why Warner should quit the game: We had Warner on our radio show in October 2008 a few weeks after Boldin suffered a serious head injury during a game. Warner said that he was so shaken up after seeing Boldin being knocked out, he called his wife after the game to tell her he was retiring immediately. He did not retire at that time, but he has said that his priority in life is not football but being healthy enough to play with his children as they grow up.
There is also his legacy. Sometimes it is better when an athlete leaves the game before his skills erode instead of after. Nobody wants to watch Warner struggle. If he leaves now, it will enhance his legacy with football fans. He will leave us wanting more. Warner has mostly been quiet on this issue since the loss to the Saints. He did make a few comments before leaving the locker room as his season came to an end.
"The farther I've gotten into this, the more and more I demand of myself," Warner said. "Putting in the work and time gets to be more and more of a burden every year. Do I want to put in all the time during the week and the off- season work to prepare?" Kurt's wife, Brenda, spoke to the media as well. And despite reports saying it is a family decision, she says that is not the case. "I don't even want to decide that for him," Brenda said, adding: "I just laugh that people are trying to figure out when he's going to retire. People are trying to figure it out when it's only between Kurt and God."
As a long-time fan of Kurt Warner, I selfishly hope he comes back to entertain me some more. I can deal with him staying one year too long. I wonder if he can deal with leaving the game knowing that he still has at lot of hall of fame football left in him. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org