Kurt Warner thanked God, hugged his children and wife and said goodbye to an NFL career that seems the stuff of sports fiction.
The 38-year-old quarterback announced his retirement 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.
Then, as if going from stocking groceries to winning NFL MVP awards wasn’t improbable enough, Warner was written off as a has-been and rose again to lead the long-suffering Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl.
A man of deep faith who carried a Bible to each post-game news conference, 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.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” Warner 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.”
At 38, Warner was as good this year as during his MVP seasons. His effort against the Packers in the Wild Card round, when he threw more touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four) was one of the greatest postseason performances ever. He was also a stud in the Super Bowl last year and would have added a second ring if not for Santonio Holmes’ miracle catch in the corner of the endzone.