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Sacking The Quarterback: Warner is gone from the Rams as of today

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  • Sacking The Quarterback: Warner is gone from the Rams as of today

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Officially, quarterback Kurt Warner's record-setting days with the Rams will end today. Unofficially, the tie was cut Tuesday.

    According to agent Mark Bartelstein, the Rams informed the league Tuesday afternoon of Warner's release. Bartelstein said Rams executive Jay Zygmunt told him that the team had completed "the process of releasing Kurt."

    Zygmunt, president of football operations, declined to confirm whether the paperwork had been filed with the NFL. But Zygmunt acknowledged that as of today, Warner no longer will be a member of the Rams.

    Today marks the first day that teams can release players with multiyear contracts and have the salary-cap hit spread over two years instead of one. Warner's release will cost the Rams $4.6 million this year and $6.7 million in 2005.

    Under league guidelines, the close of business Tuesday in New York, home of the NFL offices, was at 3 p.m. (St. Louis time). So the Rams could have notified the league of Warner's release after that time, as Bartelstein indicated, and the transaction technically would be dated today.

    Whatever the timing of the move, Warner is heading elsewhere after six seasons in St. Louis. Bartelstein said Warner, who was unavailable for comment, greeted the move with "a lot of mixed emotions. He's had so much success and such a great relationship with everyone in St. Louis, that's just an unbelievable chapter in his life and an unbelievable chapter in the history of the NFL. So, to leave that I think is hard.

    "But he's in the prime of his career . . . so he's eager to go play football."

    Warner can sign with another team as early as this afternoon.

    "Kurt wants to get something done quickly," Bartelstein said.

    Although Bartelstein said several teams are interested in Warner, the New York Giants are expected to get his name on a contract - probably for one year, at about $3 million - before the end of the week.

    "Kurt and I kind of have a preference of what we think is the best fit, and we're going to see if we can get that worked out," Bartelstein said. "If we can, great. If not, there are other choices."

    Warner, who will turn 33 on June 22, could emerge as the starter for the Giants, who released incumbent Kerry Collins after trading for Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall selection in the April draft. Warner's broader role would be as a mentor for Manning.

    "He's not going somewhere just to be a mentor; he's going to go somewhere to play and to try to win," Bartelstein said. "If Kurt Warner plays next year the way he's capable of playing and he helps the team win, and win big, it doesn't really matter who's waiting in the wings. Kurt's going to be the guy."

    Warner visited with new Giants coach Tom Coughlin last month and also passed a physical examination administered by the team. League rules barred him from working out for another team while he still was under contract with the Rams, so he didn't throw for the Giants.

    But Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi apparently is satisfied that Warner can regain his effectiveness.

    "We have the best doctors in the league, and our staff feels that Kurt Warner is in excellent shape with no concerns," Accorsi told reporters in New York. "He obviously has the credentials and has a pretty startling record."

    Startling is an appropriate term to describe the way Warner stormed onto the NFL scene in 1999. The little-known University of Northern Iowa product was thrust into the starter's job when Trent Green suffered a serious knee injury in an exhibition game.

    Six months later, Warner was the talk of the league and the toast of St. Louis. He passed for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns, guiding the Rams to a 13-3 regular-season record and a stirring postseason run that culminated with a 23-16 triumph over Tennessee in the Super Bowl. Warner was named Most Valuable Player of the league and the Super Bowl.

    A broken pinkie finger on his right (throwing) hand kept Warner on the sideline for five games in 2000, when the Rams went 10-6 before losing at New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs. Healthy again in 2001, Warner threw for 4,830 yards - the second-highest total in league history. The Rams were NFC West champions after going 14-2 in the regular season and again reached the Super Bowl, where they lost to New England 20-17. Warner again was voted the league's MVP.

    Injuries to his hand and thumb, plus several concussions, severely limited Warner's playing time the last two years. Since the end of the '01 season, Warner started seven games, and the Rams lost them all. During that same span, Marc Bulger was 18-5 as the starting quarterback, including a 12-4 mark last season.

    In April, coach Mike Martz told Bulger that he was the team's No. 1 quarterback. In May, Bulger signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract with the team, and Warner's release became a virtual certainty.

    Today, it becomes official.
    Attached Files

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Warner cut
    by RamWraith
    Rams | Warner Cut - from
    Tue, 1 Jun 2004 14:38:28 -0700

    ESPNews reports the St. Louis Rams have released QB Kurt Warner.
    -06-01-2004, 03:42 PM
  • RamDez
    Agent: Warner's release will happen today
    by RamDez
    By R.B. Fallstrom
    Associated Press

    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...
    -06-01-2004, 11:27 AM
  • RamWraith
    Warner article--sure to drum up a debate. Interesting read
    by RamWraith
    Just like with Rams and Giants, Warner out to prove critics wrong
    By Darren Urban, Tribune

    The resumé is too long for the story to begin where it once did. Kurt Warner knows that.
    His past is decorated with two MVP awards, three Pro Bowls, two Super Bowl appearances and a St. Louis fan base that still follows him two stops later.

    Warner is no longer the nobody who took over at quarterback for the Rams in 1999, but in some ways, he is starting over.

    He has more doubters than believers, which is where he stood that day St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil made him the starter after Trent Green's season-ending knee injury almost six years ago.

    And like his Rams back then, his new team in Arizona carries few expectations.

    "There are a lot of people out there that don't think I can still play, and there's a lot of people out there that don't think this team has a chance to do anything," Warner said. The statistics haven't been gaudy for three years, and for Warner, his history has become his burden. But it is also his proof.

    "There has never been a story like Kurt Warner's," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. "It's a result of him believing in himself." Warner still believes. He believes that winning football, if not video game-like stats, remains in him.

    He believes politics dragged him out of the lineup with both the Rams and the New York Giants. He believes he will be reborn as an NFL starter with the Cardinals this season. And he believes he has lived this scenario before. "It's kind of my story, the underdog story, no chance to have success," Warner said. "It's kind of like what I stepped into in St. Louis.

    "I get a chance to rewrite my story, and I get a chance to hopefully rewrite the story of the Arizona Cardinals."


    The first version of Warner's story came straight from Hollywood.

    He was nowhere, bagging groceries at one point after college, eventually thinking a successful arena football career in his native Iowa was as far as the dream might go. Then, in one stunning two-year period, he rose from Iowa Barnstormer to St. Louis Ram as ringleader of the "Greatest Show on Turf."

    "St. Louis football was dog meat for so long," longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz said. "Then this mythical character out of a W.P. Kinsella novel walks out of the Iowa cornfields."

    He won a Super Bowl that first season as a starter. He set team records. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. And he was a good person, friendly almost to a fault, a sports hero fans could feel good about embracing.

    Warner was going to be a Ram forever.

    That he isn't now, "flabbergasts me a little bit," Warner
    -05-14-2005, 07:25 AM
  • Nick Analysis of Warner Situation
    by Nick
    Fantasy Notebook: Fool Me Once, Shame On You. ...
    By Bob Harris - Senior NFL Analyst -

    Well, the latest reports filtering out of the Big Apple say Kurt Warner
    looked sharp during his initial mini-camp workouts this week. His passes
    were crisp and mostly on target. But as New York Daily News staffer Ralph
    Vacchiano noted, the surprise was that Eli Manning's passes looked even

    After struggling through his first mini-camp as a pro early last month,
    Manning put all that behind him Monday with a much-improved performance
    that caught the eyes of his coaches and teammates.

    According to Vacchiano, "his command in the huddle was better and he had a
    much greater knowledge of the offense. And as a result, he was able to
    show off the right arm that the Giants worked so hard to acquire in their
    blockbuster draft-day trade."

    Wow. Sounds pretty darned good. ...

    Unfortunately, Manning didn't fare as well Tuesday. Which should come as
    no surprise. Once again, we're talking about a rookie trying to get up to
    speed at the league's most difficult position to master.

    Which is why, I suspect, we'll see a growing media drumbeat surrounding
    the Warner/Manning competition with Warner putting increasing pressure on
    his younger teammate as he becomes familiar with the Giants' system and
    his NFL MVP experience begins to factor into the equation.

    But that doesn't mean I believe Warner is the best man for this job. Nor
    am I sure he's not. And I'm not alone in my confusion.

    In fact, after reviewing some of the opinions being floated by those "in
    the know," I've come to the conclusion that Warner is as mysterious to the
    rest of the world as he is to me.

    A sampling follows. ...

    In an article published Monday, Sports Illustrated insider Peter King
    advised readers: "I think Kurt Warner, whatever happens, will be a team
    player and will help Eli Manning as much as he can with the Giants. Warner
    is one of the few people I know in football who truly would help the guy
    behind him even if it meant it might hurt his situation."

    But former Giants quarterback Phil Simms disagreed.

    "The perfect guy (for the Giants) was Neil O'Donnell," Simms told the
    Newark Star-Ledger. "It's not a knock against Kurt, but the agendas are
    different. Kurt Warner still wants to be a franchise quarterback. He wants
    to be the guy. ... Kurt Warner will give information to Eli, but he's
    going to be more concerned about his performance, his knowledge and what
    he's doing."

    Another Sports Illustrated writer, NFL guru Paul Zimmerman, took things a
    step further,...
    -06-13-2004, 09:36 PM
  • HornIt
    Balzer: Some Parts on Warner Story Not Generally Known
    by HornIt
    Some Parts on Warner Story Not Generally Known
    By Howard Balzer Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    The improbable tale of the guy who went from a bagger in a grocery store to Super Bowl MVP, disappeared from view and reemerged in the Super Bowl again, has its roots in the confidence of former Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who overruled his offensive coordinator to keep Warner on the roster in 1998.

    It is one of the rarely told stories of how Warner even earned a job in Vermeil's second season as the Rams' coach.

    Vermeil was hired by the Rams in 1997, and brought Jerry Rhome with him as offensive coordinator. As most coaches do, they have players they like to bring with them to new stops on the coaching trail. So it was that Rhome suggested the Rams sign lefthanded quarterback Will Furrer to compete for the No. 3 job on the roster.

    Furrer played well in a pre-season game against Dallas, and beat out Jamie Martin for the job. It's interesting to note that Martin was still in the league in 2008, while Furrer has been long gone.

    The following year is where this story grows intriguing. Rhome wasn't even present for a December tryout in 1997 for Warner, who had been excelling for the Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers.

    Al Lugenbill, head coach of the Amsterdam Admirals in the NFL's Europe league, wanted Warner for his team. But he needed an NFL team to sign him and allocate him. Other teams had varying degrees of interest, but it was the Rams that signed him a few days after Christmas because personnel director Charley Armey liked what he had seen.

    Warner went overseas and won the job in a close competition with Jake Delhomme, then with the New Orleans Saints. When he arrived for Rams training camp in July, he was competing with ... drum roll, please, ... Will Furrer. Warner showed some moxie and Vermeil recalled liking what he had seen. But there was the Rhome factor to overcome.

    As camp ended, Rhome pushed for Furrer to get the job again. But Vermeil wasn't convinced this time. He had the backing of other assistants, including Mike White, and the choice was made to cut Furrer and keep Warner.

    Where would Warner would be today had that decision not been made? No one can really say. But it seems obvious Warner wouldn't be where is today.

    The Rams were a bad football team in 1998. They were 4-12, and there were those that believed the game had passed Vermeil by. Because of injuries to Tony Banks and Steve Bono, Warner played in the season finale against San Francisco and was a non-descript 4-for-11 for 39 yards.

    Immediately after the season ended, Rhome was fired and Mike Martz was hired as offensive coordinator. So little did Martz know of Warner that when the quarterback went to Martz's office to introduce himself,...
    -01-27-2009, 08:50 PM