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    Warner's Rise Inspirational, Warner's Fall Perplexing

    By ClanRam's Don Ackerman
    Monday, 31 May, 2004

    I've watched the Kurt Warner story since day 1. I still remember the disappointment I felt when the Rams lost their recently signed quarterback Trent Green to injury in the preseason against San Diego. I also remember Kurt Warner holding up the Lombardi trophy as he lead his team in Super Bowl XXXIV. Now Kurt's all but gone.

    Before Trent Green went down, it was supposed to be redemption for Rams fans. After years of struggling, The Rams went out and signed a highly regarded quarterback from the Washington Redskins. Green, our new quarterback, was starting a new era in Saint Louis Rams football. Scratch that, the Rams were starting a new era with a new quarterback. But that quarterback was not Trent Green. It was Kurt Warner. With the Kurt Warner era ending today or tomorrow, I can't help but wonder.

    Kurt Warner's rise was a phoenix's birth. From the fire of devastation in Trent Green's injury, Kurt Warner rose from the ashes, entered the NFL, and found his place in history. His rise to glory, Super Bowls, and Most Valuable Player trophies seem very unlikely. Kurt's Cinderella story is the stuff of Hollywood. It's an inspirational tale that everyone wants to tell their grandchildren. It's that never-give-up mantra that we all need to remember when we are down. It's dare I say Biblical in how faith was rewarded. And as near impossible as that story starts, the come-from-nowhere story actually seems probable when compared to Kurt Warner's fall.

    As suddenly as it began, the Kurt Warner story fizzled out. But the most perplexing part of Kurt's quick fade from the Ram's starting quarterback job is not as shocking as how it happened.

    The rise was improbable. After all, Kurt's rise to fame did not occur as a 24-year old just out of college. Kurt was older, more experienced, and had played Arena Football and NFL Europe football. He was the player trying to break through. A man of strong spiritual belief, Kurt did the Lord's will and tried, tried, tried. So really, it's no surprise that his faith was rewarded.

    But how he's handled the fall is really the story that boggles the mind. It's confusing to hear Kurt talk about his faith becoming a reason for his departure from the starting job in Saint Louis (happened in February, 2004). When that news became public, coach Mike Martz was angry and Kurt retracted his story. How does this happen? Kurt's reaction seems inconsistent with his publicly-shared religious faith. What's going on, Kurt?

    Honestly, the Kurt Warner story has become a bad reality television show. And like most TV, we only hear part of the story.

    Because of that, I'm not sure what to think. The most surprising thing for me is Kurt's attitude. With his strong religious beliefs, I'd expect Kurt to hand off what happens to God. Personally, that may be how he rose to such great heights. He just followed his heart and let God do the rest. I think we have all heard that when times get tough, you need to step back and let God handle things. When Trent Green went down, Kurt stepped in and rode the wave.

    Oddly enough, I don't see Kurt doing that now. He certainly has handled the situation well most of the time. Like I said before, he has had lapses. Perhaps that is because it's hard to be perfect all the time. It's hard to be "on" 24 days a week, 7 days a week. In any case, his discussions of faith being a problem in Houston, Texas seem out of place. It just doesn't seem like Kurt to put blame and faith in one sentence.

    Also, Kurt's potential injuries give me pause. Everything said portrays Kurt as healthy. But something is causing Kurt to become prone to fumbling away football games. In his most recent starts, Kurt has been targeted by defenses because he will turn over the ball. Though spoken words say he's fine, we all know that's not completely true. Something is there.

    Again, I'm perplexed. Kurt has accomplished so much. He has won some trophies but a man of faith would never be concerned about such things. He is able to care for his family and his success has undoubtedly earned him enough money to care for his family for life. His First Things First Foundation continues to provide great things for children. I know he loves playing football but again, I don't see him handing it off to God in his backfield. I almost expect Kurt to say something like "I have done so much and been able to help so many people. I'm thankful for the opportunity I have in Saint Louis and will continue to do my best to help this team." Doing the best for the team is not having your wife call into talk shows (September, 2003)(I don't fault her for a moment for saying what anyone supporting someone else would say) but includes enjoying what you have and trying to more but without being a distraction.

    But when I hear Kurt speak, I almost expect him to say thank you and that he's willing to go whereever God asks him to go. If that's another football team, great. After all, it's an opportunity to branch out. It's a chance for another city to share in Kurt Warner's giving. Why don't we hear that from Kurt?

    Now, the Kurt Warner era seems to be drawing to an end. The perplexing part for me, is the answer to the question why?

    Good luck Kurt whereever you go. I will always treasure your time in Saint Louis and what you did for the Saint Louis Rams.

    Ram on,
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