PHOENIX, Ariz. — Kurt Warner, he of cyborg-like accuracy and pious dignity, called it a career after 40 five years in the desert and 12 in the NFL.
The 38-year old quarterback called a presser to announce his retirement from football and the sport at which he never chose to give up, no matter how long the odds.
“ I’m excited about what lies in front of me. I’m excited about spending more time with my family, and seeing what God’s going to do next. ”
The Gospel of Kurt was born in 1999, as an angel was sent down from heaven to shatter Trent Green’s fragile body and immaculately conceive Warner’s career. He started every game that season, lifting the St. Louis Rams from nowhere to an unthinkable 13-3 record and dramatic Super Bowl victory.
Warner was named both regular season and Super Bowl MVP.
After racking up Tecmo Bowl numbers with the Rams in the “Greatest Show on Turf,” before being ostracized through injuries and fumbles – and after a briefly solid-yet-forgettable half-season with the New York Giants – Warner re-emerged in the desert, assuming command of a woebegone Arizona Cardinals franchise.
Warner’s redemption culminated in another Super Bowl appearance last season, falling just short of a win a year ago.
While there are no doubting Thomases remaining out there who won’t believe he can still play (his 5 touchdowns in the Epic Cardinals-Packers playoff tilt a testament to that), Warner probably leaves the game at the right time with his body and soul still in tact.
In just shy of eight complete NFL seasons worth of action, Warner accumulated some of the most spectacular numbers ever, let us testify:
– 65.5 percent% completion percentage
– 32,344 yards
– 208 touchdowns
– Warner and Fran Tarkenton are the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for 100 touchdowns and 14,000 yards for two teams.
– Fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 yards passing and tied with Dan Marino as the fastest to reach 30,000.
– Has the top three passing performances in Super Bowl history.
– Broke his own 1999 record for most yards in a single postseason in 2008.
It wasn’t just the stats, cannon arm and robotic precision that made Kurt Warner one of the sport’s most beloved champions. The scripture – both ancient and his own modern parable – was the real sizzle behind the steak.
Before the NFL, three seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers and one year in NFL Europe bookended a stint stocking the freaking shelves at a Kroger’s.
Warner made the Rams as a backup in 1998 at the tender age of 28, and the rest – as they say – is verse.
Kurt continues to make headlines for his charitable foundation he runs with his wife, and for randomly – and anonymously – picking up the check for a selected family each time his own goes out for dinner.
If scripture is fulfilled, the weekend should play out something like this:
It is said that Warner shall retire to a cross on a hill, where he will lay till Sunday. Warner will then storm out onto Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphins Stadium that evening, suiting up for the pro bowl.
He’ll pass for 216 yards and 3 TDs in a quarter-and-a-half before floating out of the stadium with his wife, carried by angels and virgins.
And he’ll wave, and he’ll smile, and Dick Vermeil will be off, somewhere, drinking the blessed sacrament, crying.
And we’ll all get a little misty-eyed, too.
If his life doesn’t become a Disney motion picture by 2014, I’m going to be surprised … and out $50,000.
Great player, better man. Kurt will be missed.
Gimmie an ‘Amen.’