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Professional football player Kurt Warner drove a high-powered St. Louis Rams offense to a Super Bowl victory, and collected MVP honors along the way.
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That same year, Warner captured his second league MVP award.
In a league where a number of players are fairly outspoken about their religious faith, Warner is particularly vocal. In practically every interview, the born-again Christian is quick to credit God not only for his success, but also for determining where he's played throughout the course of his career. In 2001, with his wife Brenda, Warner established First Things First, a charity that helps those in need.
The Warners' generosity extends even to going out to eat.
Often, Kurt picks up the check for a family at another table. Warner's
kids choose the unsuspecting customers, who are never told who paid
their bill. On the field and with the Rams, Warner chose the jersey
number 13 as a way to show his disdain for superstition and other things
that don't line up with his faith.
Warner's time with the Rams ended following the 2003 season after injuries, costly turnovers, and a general disintegration of the talent around him put the club in rebuilding mode.
Far from feeling as though his career was over, Warner signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants, who had traded for rookie Eli Manning that spring. The team wanted a veteran quarterback to run the Giants until a younger quarterback was ready to take over. Warner struggled in the club, however, and the Giants went on an eight-game losing streak. Eventually, the veteran QB found himself playing the backup role.
In March 2005, Warner signed a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, a bumbling NFL franchise that had made it to the post-season just once in the last 22 years. After a bumpy three years, in which Warner traded starting duties with Matt Leinart, the former USC standout whom the Cardinals had drafted in 2005, Warner took hold of the position in the fall of 2008. Leading another prolific offense, the 37-year-old Warner steered the club to a 9-7 record, the playoffs, and then on an improbable run to the Super Bowl, where the team narrowly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23. On the big stage, Warner shined once again, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, Warner owns more passing yardage (1,156) than anyone in Super Bowl history.
In the off-season, Warner, once again a free agent, considered signing elsewhere. He came close to inking a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, but in the end he signed with the Cardinals for a two-year, $23 million deal.
Not long after, Warner speculated that this most recent contract may very well be his last one. While still in possession of one the NFL's most potent arms, injuries, in particular concussions, have plagued his career. Whenever his playing days end, however, the Hall of Fame talk concerning this once-supermarket employee is sure to heat up.
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