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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ken Whisenhunt Was Offering Kurt Warner the Brett Favre Deal

The biggest story in the NFL last week was the announcement by Kurt Warner that he would retire, ending his 12-year career. With the way he played this past season — 3,753 yards, 26 touchdowns, a division title and a playoff game victory — it was a mild surprise to see him hang them up (the Bobby McCray hit says otherwise). One person sad to see Warner retire is Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt. As I was listening to Jim Rome’s show live from Radio Row, he had Yahoo! Sports writer Mike Silver on as a guest. Silver mentioned that Whisenhunt was dangling a Brett Favre deal on the table to try and entice Warner to return for another season:

“Basically, Coach Whisenhunt told me that if there’s anything you need to make this work, let me know,” Warner said. “He said, ‘I’m willing to adjust anything within reason to have you stay. If you need to take some time off, the whole offseason off, some of training camp, we’ll figure it out.’ A lot of times he would say it in passing, just sort of having some fun with me, but there was some truth in it.”

The reason I invoke Brett Favre is because #4 got to miss all of training camp before signing with the Vikings and getting picked up from the airport personally by coach Brad Childress. The only other reason I’ve heard of players missing training camp is injury or contract issues, not because the coach was allowing special privileges. I think Whisenhunt’s offer says a few things. One, it speaks to the high level Kurt Warner played at this past year because Whisenhunt knows the Cardinals are a playoff team and Super Bowl contender with Kurt as the quarterback. On a similar note, it also means Whisenhunt doesn’t have too much confidence in Matt Leinart — at least not for the upcoming season. Think about it — if Whisenhunt knew he had Aaron Rodgers in the wings, would he make that type of offer? I doubt it.

I also was critical of Kurt Warner’s Hall of Fame candidacy last year. After seeing the way he played in the Super Bowl last year, and seeing him throw for five touchdown against the Packers (in the playoffs) and Bears (in the regular season), I have changed my mind. Warner is an elite quarterback who has done many special things in the league, and his propensity to play his best in the postseason was incredible. Games like the one he had in week two against the Jags — 24-26 for 243 yards and two touchdowns — remind me that he was also one of the most accurate quarterbacks in history. Warner’s final season he may have cemented his Hall of Fame status for many people, but it also changed my mind.



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