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At 35, Warner says he might call it a career

TEMPE, Ariz. (Oct. 12, 2006) -- This might be the final season for Kurt Warner in the NFL.

The 35-year-old Arizona Cardinals quarterback, who lost his starting job to rookie Matt Leinart last week, said he is considering retirement after this season.

"Definitely I'm thinking about my next step and what's best for me and all those things," he said.

Warner, in one of the NFL's great success stories, went from the Arena Football League and NFL Europe to lead St. Louis to two Super Bowls. He is in the first year of a three-year contract he signed with the Cardinals in February, but he realizes his future in Arizona would be as a backup.

Since his MVP days with the Rams, Warner has lost starting jobs to Marc Bulger in St. Louis, Eli Manning with the New York Giants and now Leinart.

"We'll sit down at the end of the year and see the way things are going," Warner said.

Warner, who earns about $7 million this year, got off to a great start this season, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 23 of 37 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-27 victory over San Francisco.

But things went sour after that. In a 16-14 home loss to St. Louis, Warner threw three interceptions, then fumbled a snap at the Rams 18 with 1:36 to play.

He got one more chance against Atlanta, but he went 11 for 20 for 128 yards with one interception and one lost fumble. Immediately after the game, coach Dennis Green announced that Leinart would be the starter.

Warner was not drafted out of Northern Iowa in 1994, but was signed as a free agent, then released by the Green Bay Packers. He played three seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers of the AFL, then spent a season with Amsterdam in NFL Europe.

He signed with the Rams in 1998, then was elevated to starter entering the 1999 season when Trent Green wrecked his knee in a preseason game. He responded by leading St. Louis to the Super Bowl. He was voted the league and Super Bowl MVP in the process.

Two years later, he was league MVP again, but the Rams lost to New England in the Super Bowl.

But he went down with a hand injury in 2002, and never regained the starting job for St. Louis. He signed as a free agent with the Giants in 2004, but was plagued by sacks and benched in favor of the rookie Manning after nine games.

Warner signed a one-year deal with Arizona in 2005 and started 10 games. The Cardinals re-signed Warner in February, before the NFL draft, when Leinart unexpectedly fell to Arizona at the No. 10 pick.

Still, Warner was supposed to be the starter all season while Leinart learned from the sidelines, but that changed with the veteran's mistake-prone start.

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