We all knew that the days, weeks or maybe even month immediately following the Arizona Cardinals final game of the 2009 season would be filled with one big, gigantic, monumental question. Will Kurt Warner come back in 2010? Will the great Gloved One, who's turned one of the league's most pathetic franchises into a not only a consistent winner but a perennial contender, return for one more glorious run at immortality? As of today we don't have an answer to that question and it may still be several weeks or maybe more than a month before know for sure, but for now Warner sure doesn't sound like a man who wants to strap the shoulder pads back on and go to war. Speaking to ESPN's Rick Reilly, Warner sounded more like a guy with both feet out the door.
"The three hours on Sundays are still fun. But it's the whole week, the whole commitment, the ability to sustain it to your fullest, day in and day out.......You feel the pressure. You have a game that isn't that great and people are like, 'What's wrong with Warner?' That wears on you. You don't have the joy and the fun and satisfaction of having one of those great games because everybody expects you to have one of those games. You never get to exhale.....It's kind of been: if I didn't play well, we lost. And that's a lot of responsibility. It wears you out.""
Now to be honest we've heard almost these exact quotes before from an aging quarterback who was contemplating retirement, Brett Favre. It seems as if every year for the past decade he's lamented the rigors of showing up to work seven days a week and putting his mind and body through the grind of a 16 game season. Yet somehow every off season Favre's feelings turn from worrying about the grind to anticipating the enjoyment of stepping on the field with 52 other men. Will that same change of heart take place with Kurt Warner?
There's the million dollar question. On one hand, KW doesn't want to leave the game too early. He doesn't want to regret leaving the game while he still has a desire to play, but on the other hand he doesn't want this game to have any negative effects on the rest of his life. He fully understands that everyone who straps on a helmet and shoulder pads is one play away from a life altering injury and at 38 years old, Warner fully understands that his body has already taken it's fair share of punishment.
"This is the sorest I've ever been."
That was Warner's comment to Reilly, two days after the loss to the Saints. So what does the future hold for Kurt Warner? For now that's between him and God.
"I pray that God takes away the desire in me to play this game," he says. "I've loved it for so long. I need Him to take that away from me, so that I can be comfortable with this decision."