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Kurt Warner at peace in retirement

MIAMI (BP)–Weaving in and out of the various broadcast booths at this week’s Super Bowl radio row, much like he would weave between defensive tackles, former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner looked utterly at ease.

A year removed from his remarkable comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers, nearly earning a second Super Bowl title -– and after a brilliant year with the Cardinals, capped by a five-touchdown playoff performance against the Green Bay Packers — Warner decided to retire to pursue God’s next opportunity in his life.

Warner said God has given him a peace about the next stage in his life.

“My life does not depend on football,” he calmly said when asked if his retirement would stick.

For an emotional player, Warner, 39, was strangely unemotional at his retirement press conference Jan. 29 because of the peace the Lord had given him.

“I thank God for my 12 years in the NFL, I really do,” he said, “but it’s not like I don’t know what I want to do with the next stage of my life.”

In leaving a spectacular career which included a Super Bowl win with the St. Louis Rams, a near-miss for the title with the Cardinals, two MVP awards along with thousands of yards and 200-plus touchdowns, Warner said he plans to remain focused on his family and on ministry.

Along with the charitable foundation he and his wife Brenda founded, he is involved with other Christian family ministries. He also may do some TV work and currently is doing commercial work for milk and for Disney Theme Parks, two wholesome products to match his wholesome image.

With his retirement, the five-year wait now starts ticking on his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Warner told Baptist Press it’s “way down” his list of priorities.

“When people consider my career, I want them to talk about the person I was, not the player,” Warner told Baptist Press. “I want them to talk about what I brought to the table each and every day as a person.”

Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was only a part of Warner’s career for a few years, but said teammates, both Christians and non-Christians, will remember Warner with respect and admiration.

“Kurt was not a ‘throw the Bible at you’ type of guy,” Fitzgerald said. “He had a strong faith which he believed in, but he didn’t try to beat you over the head with it. That’s what we all should be doing.

“He was open about it, but not over the top and overbearing.”

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, now chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl Committee, was among the first of star quarterbacks not to hesitate to share his faith in Jesus Christ.

Staubach said he and Warner were similar in how they witnessed to teammates and affirmed Warner’s lifestyle testimony.

“I didn’t wear my faith on my sleeve, I concentrated on living a message,” Staubach said. “I said what I felt, that faith was very important to me. It still is, but I lived my life through faith. I think that is what Kurt has done.”
Art Stricklin is a sports correspondent for Baptist Press.

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