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Agent: Warner's release will happen today
By R.B. Fallstrom
Kurt Warner's storybook stay with the Rams is expected to end today.
The anticipated release of the two-time NFL MVP, who led the Rams to two Super Bowls but has struggled the last two seasons, would signal the final endorsement of Marc Bulger as the team's No. 1 quarterback. Bulger took over as the starter for good after Warner fumbled six times, perhaps while playing under the effects of a mild concussion, in last year's season opener.
Bulger, who is 18-4 as the regular-season starter, signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract in April as the first major sign that Warner would not be back. The team also signed backup Chris Chandler to a free-agent deal, and excused Warner from a three-day minicamp last month.
Team spokesman Duane Lewis said the Rams had no news conference scheduled. The team could make the move as early as 3 p.m. St. Louis time.
"It's going to happen today," said Mark Bartelstein, Warner's agent. "It's been an unbelievable chapter in his life. He had tremendous success and it's been a wonderful time."
Warner has been given permission to talk with several teams, most prominently the New York Giants, who need a mentor for Eli Manning. Warner could not sign with another team until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Bartelstein said four or five teams remained in the running for Warner's services. He expected Warner would sign by the end of the week.
"Kurt wants to get something done quickly and start getting acclimated with his new team," Bartelstein said. "Everyone has different things to offer."
Warner, who turns 33 on June 22, led the Rams to Super Bowls in 1999 and 2001, but has been plagued by injuries since.
By waiting until now to cut Warner, the Rams will spread their salary cap hit over two years instead of one. He'll cost them $4.6 million this year and $6.7 million in 2005. His contract called for a $9.5 million salary this year.
Warner, undrafted out of Northern Iowa but an Arena League star, got the Rams' starting quarterback job in 1999 after Trent Green had a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. The Rams had endured a decade of losing seasons before Warner led the NFL with 41 touchdown passes, helping the team finish 13-3.
Warner also was the Super Bowl MVP after a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
In 2001, Warner led the Rams to a 14-2 record, although St. Louis lost to the underdog New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Nothing much has gone right for Warner since then. He missed half of the 2002 season with hand injuries, throwing only three touchdown passes with 11 interceptions. That gave Bulger his first chance to shine with victories in his first six career starts.
Warner appeared to have regained his form last year with a strong preseason before his stumbling start in New York. Bulger never gave the Rams a reason to reconsider Warner the rest of the year.
Re: Agent: Warner's release will happen today
Funny, I just noticed for the first time that Kurt and my son share the same birthday.
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