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Warner brings end to stirring 12-year NFL career

Warner brings end to stirring 12-year NFL career

Kurt Warner has called an end to one of the great storybook careers in NFL history.
The 38-year-old quarterback announced his retirement from the game on Friday after a dozen years in a league that at first rejected him, then revered him as he came from nowhere to lead the lowly St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls, winning the first of them.
Written off as a has-been, he rose again to lead the long-suffering Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl a year ago.
"I'm excited about what's next," Warner said. "Before I was always excited about next season."
Warner walked away with a year left on a two-year, $23 million contract, knowing he still had the skills to play at the highest level.
He had one of the greatest playoff performances ever in Arizona's 51-45 overtime victory over Green Bay on Jan. 10, but sustained a brutal hit in the Cardinals' 45-14 loss at New Orleans six days later.
Warner leaves the game with a legacy that could land him in the Hall of Fame even though he didn't start his first game until he was 28.
In a comparison with the 14 quarterbacks to make the Hall of Fame in the last 25 years, Warner has a better career completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and yards per game. Only Dan Marino had more career 300-yard passing games.
In 124 regular-season games, Warner completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 32,344 yards and 208 touchdowns. He and Fran Tarkenton are the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for 100 touchdowns and 14,000 yards for two teams.
He has the top three passing performances in Super Bowl history. His 1,156 yards passing in the 2008 playoffs broke the NFL record of 1,063 he set with St. Louis in 1999.
Warner's rise from obscurity seems the stuff of sports fiction.
He played for three seasons in the Arena Football League and one in NFL Europe, mixed in with a stint of stocking grocery shelves back in Iowa.
Warner made the Rams as a backup in 1998, then was thrust into the starting role in 1999 when Trent Green was injured.
What followed was a masterful and wholly unexpected season, when he led the Rams to a 13-3 regular-season record, then a Super Bowl triumph over Tennessee. He was named the league and Super Bowl MVP.
St. Louis was upset in the first round of the playoffs the following season, but Warner had them back in the big game in 2001, where the team nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf" lost a squeaker to New England. The season earned him a second NFL MVP award.
But within two years he was let go by the Rams, plagued by injuries.
He signed with the New York Giants and was replaced midseason, then landed with Arizona and couldn't secure a starting spot for two years until 2007. The next year he led the Cardinals all the way to the Super Bowl, where he threw for 377 yards in a narrow loss to Pittsburgh.
Off the field, Warner has been just as impressive.
He and his wife operate the First Things First Christian charitable foundation. Last year, he was named the NFL's Man of the Year for his off-field and onfield accomplishments.


Updated : 2021-05-06 13:04 GMT+08:00