There are rumors abound concerning Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and whether or not he plans to retire following the conclusion of his team’s playoff run this year. ESPN ran a story claiming that Warner intends to retire at the end of this year, but could change his mind. Anyway, I don’t think any of us football fans expect Warner to pull a Brett Favre and vacillate about his future once he publicly states his decision. So we’ll just wait and see. For now, it’s time to enjoy what the veteran quarterback is doing out there at the age of 38. In Sunday’s thrilling 51-45 Wild Card win over the Green Bay Packers, Warner was simply outstanding – perhaps as good as he’s ever been before in his likely Hall of Fame worthy career. He finished the game 29 of 33 for 379 yards, 5 TDs and 0 INTs. Wow.
Warner joined Bickley & MJ on XTRA 910 in Phoenix to talk about his amazing performance against the Packers, why the outcome of this postseason will have no bearing on his retirement plans, how he feels like players have been gunning for his head recently, and what he and the Cardinals need to do to knock off the #1 seed in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints, at the Superdome in the Big Easy this coming weekend.
On just how satisfying his individual performance was on Sunday against the Packers:
“Well I mean, it’s just nice to win and obviously it’s nice to play well at the biggest time of year. And that’s what I’ve always tried to pride myself on and I think what the great ones always do is – when it counts the most, how do you perform? And you know, from that regard, it feels good to be able to play well. Obviously on Sunday we needed every play that we made. And it’s nice to know that you were able to answer the bell and make every play that needed to be made to win that kind of game, and now you can move on.”
On if he knows going in to a game that the offense’s gameplan is bound to be successful, and if so, if last week’s game was one of those weeks:
“Well I mean, I have things that I like every week. I’m always sharing my ideas and pushing the coaches to put in every thing I like. I just really felt good about a couple of packages that we put in. I really felt like I had a good handle on what they were going to do, how they were going to, how they were going to try to stop us. And I really felt like we had mismatches in those areas. One of the big packages that we used in the game, we didn’t put in until Thursday, maybe even Friday last week. But, we felt really good about it. And I think that’s what excites you – you feel good about the plan, you’re excited about what you’re doing, and I always say quarterbacks have a certain way that they see the field. You know, the way that they play the game in their mind. And always a key for me every game plan is do I see the game, am I seeing the certain plays that we have in, am I comfortable with those with the way I see the game? And last week was one of those game plans where I felt really good about what I was going to see, how I was going to attack it, and it really fit with how I see the game. And those are the weeks that you go in with a lot of confidence and belief that you’re going to make everything work. So that’s what you try to come up with every single week. It doesn’t always work that way especially when you’re trying to mesh different things. I mean, me, I want everybody out on every single play and that’s what I feel the best with. You know, you can’t mesh that with a running game and obviously the philosophy of the coaches. So it’s that fine balance, and when you get in a game where you’re feeling great with all the pass plays called, those are games where you’re usually pretty successful. So we’re trying to put another one together this week where we can have a good balance and I can see and feel good about what we’re doing.”
On if he feels comfortable playing in the Superdome (he did lose a SB with the Rams in that building):
“You know, as long as the roof’s closed, I’m happy. You know, I think the weather’s going to be somewhere between 60 and 75 which I can definitely handle. There’s going to be no wind, no rain or no snow so as long as that’s going for me I’m going to feel pretty good in there and with it being a playoff game, it’s not going to get much better than that. I just love places where you know the elements aren’t going to dictate what happens. That you’re not going to have to change the way you play the game. Then you can just lay it all out on the line and I think that’s what’s going to happen and it’s going to be fun.”
On complaining last week during the game about the helmet-to-helmet hit that he took
“Well I don’t know, I don’t want to say anybody is coming after me, but it seems like down the stretch here, I’ve had a lot of guys kind of go for my head – or hit me in the head, whether or not they’re going for it I don’t want to put that on anybody. But you know, it’s just one of those things where I see certain guys when they’re coming free and blitzing, I just feel sometimes like they’re trying to push the envelope as much as they can. One of the things I’m always trying to do is let the officials know. I know they’ve got a tough job and it’s not easy to see all that stuff, but just let them know, ‘hey, watch this’ because I don’t want people going for my head; I want them to be conscious of it. Sometimes if you can get one of those calls early it changes the way the other team plays. It’s more a psychological thing, it’s not really something I’m worried about. But if you just kind of remind the refs every once in a while, they may look for it. You know, we got that one on that unbelievable catch by Larry, but it might have been a penalty had Larry not made that catch, gotten us a first down there inside the red zone. So you know, just trying to be conscious of those things, make sure I’m protecting myself, but also to make sure they’re paying attention to little things like that going on in the game.”
On if he’s made his decision about retirement and is simply waiting for the end of the season to announce it, or if he has not yet made up his mind:
“Well I mean, I consider it all the time and I talk about it, I think about it, I talk with my family about it. So it’s an ongoing thing. But again, as I always say, I don’t ever want to make a decision in the midst of something. I never want to make an emotional decision when I’m on a high or I’m on a low, and make the wrong decision. So to say I haven’t thought about it or am not thinking about it or am not leaning in a certain direction, that wouldn’t be telling the truth. But, a final decision – when I make that decision – everybody’s going to know and it’s not going to come until after the season’s over when I can get away for a little while and really weigh everything. But I do have thoughts on it like I have the last couple years thinking ahead, trying to figure out when’s the right time to do the best thing for me and my family. And I’ll make that decision shortly after the season is over.”
On if the outcome of this coming game or games will have any bearing on his decision whether or not to retire:
“No it’s not going to weigh in at all. Again, I never want to make an emotional decision, so I saw Coach Vermeil – when we went an won the Super Bowl – I saw him retire thinking ‘I want to go out on top, this is ap perfect scenario, I’m going to retire.’ Then six months later he knew it was the wrong decision. He knew he wasn’t ready to be out of the game. Then I think there’s other times where you might lose a game and the last game you play may not be your best game, even though you think you should;d retire, you go ‘well I’m coming back’ and it’s the wrong time, you’re not in to it, you don’t enjoy it. And so I never want one game to dictate – and hopefully one game will never define my career, whether that’s winning a Super Bowl to finish it or whether that’s losing my last game. And that’s how I want to approach it – my body of work is going to speak for itself so I’m not going to let that emotion of a great game or a lousy game dictate what I’m going to do moving forward. I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family, what I feel is right, and then I’ll live with that.”