Warner will an­nounce plans Fri­day

Chicago Sun-Times - - Sports - BY BOB BAUM

PHOENIX — Ari­zona Car­di­nals quar­ter­back Kurt Warner will hold a news con­fer­ence Fri­day to an­nounce whether he will re­tire from the game, his agent said.

Mark Bar­tel­stein, in a tele­phone in­ter­view Wed­nes­day, said the an­nounce­ment will be made at the Car­di­nals’ train­ing fa­cil­ity in Tempe. Bar­tel­stein de­clined to re­veal Warner’s de­ci­sion.

The 38-year-old quar­ter­back, who has led two fran­chises to the Su­per Bowl and one to the NFL ti­tle, strongly has con­sid­ered re­tire­ment in the wake of a sea­son that saw him miss a game with a con­cus­sion. He led the Car­di­nals to an 11-7 sea­son, in­clud­ing a wild play­off victory over the Green Bay Pack­ers, one year af­ter di­rect­ing the Car­di­nals on a stun­ning run to the Su­per Bowl.

Warner has one year left, worth about $11.5 mil­lion, on the two-year con­tract he signed be­fore last sea­son. But the day af­ter the Car­di­nals were elim­i­nated in a 45-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the divi­sional play­offs, he said money would not be a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in his de­ci­sion.

‘‘I don’t want to come back just to get the pay­check or just be­cause I’ve signed that con­tract if I can’t do ev­ery­thing that I would want to do or if I’m not will­ing to do ev­ery­thing that I’ve done in the past,’’ Warner said. ‘‘That’s the bot­tom line.’’

He said that al­though he loves the games, it’s the long hours of phys­i­cal and men­tal prepa­ra­tion that wear on him.

‘‘The far­ther I’ve got­ten into this, the more and more I de­mand of my­self — that’s phys­i­cally stay­ing in shape be­cause I’m older, that’s men­tally pre­par­ing and putting in work and time to try to help put this thing to­gether the way that I want it put to­gether,’’ Warner said. ‘‘All that stuff gets more and more a bur­den ev­ery year.’’

If Warner de­cides to step away, it will be the end of a re­mark­able story of rags to riches to rags then riches again. Af­ter toil­ing in the Arena Foot­ball League and NFL Europe, with a stint stock­ing gro­cery shelves, Warner was 28 when in­juries to oth­ers made him the start­ing quar­ter­back for the St. Louis Rams.

What fol­lowed was a mag­i­cal sea­son that ended with the Rams winning the Su­per Bowl and Warner be­ing named the league and Su­per Bowl MVP. He got the ‘‘Great­est Show on Turf’’ back to the ti­tle game two years later, but the Rams lost to the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots.


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