Cards' Warner retires
TEMPE, Ariz. - 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 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. Warner, a man of deep faith who carried a Bible to each postgame news conference, 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."It's been an amazing ride," he said. "I don't think I could have dreamt it would have played out like it has, but I've been humbled every day that I woke up the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me to do what he's given me the opportunity to do." Warner had one of the greatest postseason performances ever in Arizona's 51-45 overtime wild-card victory against Green Bay on Jan. 10, but he sustained a brutal hit in the Cardinals' 45-14 divisional round loss at New Orleans six days later. "He has had a dominant career. He's a good person," Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "He's got to do what's best for his family. He played long enough. He took us to the Super Bowl last year. We had a great season this year. It's a good thing. If you're going to go out, go out on top." The Cardinals signed Warner to a one-year contract in 2005 largely because no other team would give him a chance to be a starter. His opportunities during the next two years were scattered, and even when Coach Ken Whisenhunt took over in 2007, Warner was the backup to Matt Leinart. But when Leinart went down with an injury five games into the season, Warner got his chance. He started 48 of the remaining 49 games of his career. Warner leaves the game with a legacy that could land him in the Hall of Fame even though he didn't get his first start 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, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning have 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. Cardinals general manager Rod Graves called it an emotional day "because I realize once again how extraordinary he was." Whisenhunt said Warner ranked "at the top" of players he had coached. "He's one of the best quarterbacks in this league," he said, "and I think it's well noted that he's one of the best people I've been around." Warner was the fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 yards passing and tied Marino as fastest to reach 30,000. 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. BENGALS: Linebacker Rey Maualuga pleaded not guilty in northern Kentucky to drunken and careless driving. Covington police spokesman Spike Jones says Maualuga hit a parking meter and two parked cars early Friday with his 2003 Pontiac. There was minor damage. EAGLES: Philadelphia promoted Howie Roseman to general manager. The team selected Roseman, its vice president of player personnel the last two seasons, to replace the departed Tom Heckert, who left two weeks ago to become the GM in Cleveland. GIANTS: Veteran coach Chris Palmer retired after 38 seasons, including 20 in the NFL, with the last three coming as the Giants quarterbacks coach. Palmer was a head coach in Cleveland and also worked for the Jaguars, Oilers, Texans, Patriots and Cowboys.
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