Now that the dust has settled from highest scoring game in playoff history, the Arizona Cardinals can prepare to face the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. All this week, a constant question has surrounded the Cardinals - will Kurt Warner retire after this season?
Update from his official twitter account:
wow I can cause such a stir just mentioning leaving football, come on, really- anybody have an thoughts on my possible retirement..?
It was reported by ESPN before kickoff on Sunday that Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner would likely retire after the playoffs ended. Most of us saw this coming since the bulk of the two year-$20 million contract was earned this year (~ $16 million). The idea was that Warner would stay another season and lead the Cardinals on another playoff run. Then after this year, Matt Leinart would take the reigns and be the starter at quarterback.
Then the playoffs started and Sunday's game happened. Kurt Warner threw for 379 yards and 5 touchdowns in one of the greatest postseason performances by a quarterback. Yet somehow the 38 year old quarterback is reportedly going to retire after the playoffs end.
Where does this leave Warner? At this point he has yet to say that he will retire once the season ends - it's been pure speculation. What he has stated though, is that his ultimate goal would be winning the Super Bowl and adding to his already-impressive legacy.
"I am most proud of the opportunity to be in a position as a quarterback to lead two teams hopefully to that point where there is respect year in and year out for an organization," Warner said. "When I went to St. Louis, nobody had any expectations. (They were) a losing team. To come here, there weren't a lot of expectations. To be a part of two organizations and flip the tables like that will definitely be one of the things that I will be most proud of when my career is over."
"I'm just playing football this year as long as I can," Warner said. "Right now, it"s about one thing. I play for the playoffs."
Indeed he does. His 104.6 QB rating ranks 2nd all time, and he owns the best completion rate in the playoffs (66.5%). Take notice that on Sunday he played his best game against one of the best defenses in the league that featured the Defensive Player of the Year - cornerback Charles Woodson. This week he'll line up against a stingy Saints secondary featuring veteran pro bowl safety Darren Sharper.
Regardless of what Kurt Warner does through the remainder of the playoffs, his legacy will always be remembered in Arizona. He turned one of the worst franchises around, led them to the Super Bowl last year, and currently has the Cardinals knocking on the door to another championship appearance. If he decides to hang up the pads and walk away this year, the Cardinals can only hope that they'll have as much success without the future Hall of Famer.