Kurt Warner will turn 47 years old in June. His last NFL snap came at the end of the 2009 season.
You would think the time for Warner to consider an NFL comeback would have passed long ago, but you’d be wrong.
Appearing in the St. Louis Cardinals broadcast booth during Monday night’s game, Warner casually told a story about talking to an NFL coach about coming back to play this season (h/t to Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld/NBC Sports).
“I was actually ready to, for this coming season, I actually talked to a coach and my wife said, ‘Go for it, I think it would be great,'” Warner said. “So I actually talked to a coach about possibly doing it if they needed someone, but then they went out and signed somebody. I don’t think they thought I was serious. So I think we’re completely done now.”
Since we all thought Warner was completely done long ago, that is a surprise.
Kurt Warner talking about how he entertained the idea of trying to play in 2018 pic.twitter.com/HjfzJjE7EF
— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) May 8, 2018
Before we start giving all the qualifiers to Warner’s comments, let’s get it out of the way: We’re all thinking it was Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden — who seems to be collecting old free agents like he’s building a football ark — who he was talking to, right?
Now, just because Warner was talking to anyone doesn’t mean that it was ever a remote possibility. And since Warner admits it doesn’t seem he was taken seriously, who knows how far along this idea ever really got. I’m sure if you polled Pro Football Hall of Famers, they’ve all had fleeting fantasies of a comeback (it’s not even the first time Warner has floated a comeback possibility). They’re not wired to admit they can’t play anymore.
The conversation started during Warner’s appearance in the booth during the top of the third inning when he was asked if he missed playing.
“Oh my gosh, come on!” Warner said. “Anytime you play at this level and you step away from it, especially when you stay connected to it — I think that’s the hard part, is analyzing it and covering the games and doing that kind of stuff, anytime you’re around it … and especially since I feel really, really good. So I’m like ‘I think I could still play. I think I could still throw it.'”
Still, it’s funny to think about Warner coming back to play (and he has some extra time now that ESPN chose Jason Witten over him for the “Monday Night Football” gig). Sports Illustrated had a memorable cover touting Jim Brown’s comeback threat in 1983 when he was 47, so we’ve been down this road before. Herschel Walker once said in his 50s he could still play in the NFL, and somewhere at this moment Terrell Owens is telling someone he can still be a productive NFL receiver. Warner, who was in St. Louis for a bobblehead night at the Cardinals game, did play really well his final season … even if that was almost a decade ago.
But no, we’re not going to see Warner on a football field again. Unless he gets the itch again next year at age 48 and someone actually takes him up on it.
“I don’t know if I would ever really do it, because it’s easy to sit up here and go, ‘I feel great, I can throw it in my backyard, I could still play in the NFL,'” Warner said on the broadcast. “I have too much respect for the game and those guys. But there have been moments where I was like, I feel so good and I look at the state of the quarterbacks sometimes in the league and say, I think I could do it better than them if I could get back up to form and spend some time. I’m just hoping that one team, at some point, gives me another 7-on-7. Just give me 20 plays and let me see if I can still do it.”
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