Yesterday the NFL lost one of its best quarterbacks and, it seems, people when Kurt Warner retired at the age of 38, after 12 seasons–most of them simply great–for the Rams, Giants, and Cardinals. The fastest QB to 30,000 yards in NFL history, Warner’s story is the stuff of legend–coming out of NFL Europe and the Arena league, during which he stocked shelves in a supermarket; getting a chance to play when Trent Green went down with a knee injury; leading the Rams, the “Greatest Show of Turf,” to a Super Bowl victory then back the next year before losing in New England’s upset win; two-time MVP; taking Arizona from perennial doormat to the doorstep of football immortality with a great game against the eventual champion Steelers; the three games with the highest total passing yards in Super Bowl history; a lightning-fast release reminiscent of Dan Marino and Dan Fouts; great accuracy and precision in timing; seventh-most passing yards and fourth-most TDs in playoff history–in just 13 games, easily the fewest of those atop the list.
And the guy didn’t become a starter until the age of 28. Amazing.
Just as amazing–how many people walk away from millions of dollars while still at the top of their games? Not many.
I can’t say that I agree with his religious views or his conservatism. But it is impossible not to admire the man’s generosity and decency. The guy has donated millions as well as countless hours to charities and foundations, including for developmentally disabled children. He’s a genuinely humble, decent man, and there should be far more like him in life, not simply in football and sports. How many untoward words about Kurt Warner have you heard? How many times has he bad-mouthed teammates? How many times has he been a public spectacle? I literally can’t think of a single instance of any of those things.
Hall of Famer, as a player and person.