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Cardinals re-sign quarterback Warner

PHOENIX (Feb. 14, 2006) -- The Arizona Cardinals signed Kurt Warner to a three-year contract, ending speculation about their quarterback plans.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal means the 34-year-old Warner, a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player who started 10 games for the Cardinals in an injury-shortened 2005 season, will enter training camp as the starter.

Though the club struggled to a 5-11 record in Warner's first season, the Cardinals offense finished in the top quarter of the NFL in total offense.

"I think what it does demonstrate is that we're committed to building a strong nucleus for our football team, and part of that effort is making the right decision about the players you re-invest in," Cardinals vice president for football operations Rod Graves said from the club's headquarters in Tempe. "We just consider Kurt Warner part of that process, to reinvest in quality people and quality players."

Warner's new contract doesn't mean the club will ignore quarterback prospects in this spring's NFL draft. "It does not preclude us from taking a look at the quarterback position in the draft," Graves said.

Warner was not immediately available for comment. He was expected to meet with reporters Feb. 15 in Tempe.

Warner came to the Cardinals last spring after a subpar 2004 season with the New York Giants. He had an immediate impact with Arizona in 2005, completing 242 of 375 passes for 2,713 yards. He threw 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. His 64.5 completion percentage set a team record, breaking the previous mark of 61.7 set by Steve Beuerlein in 1993.

Warner's 85.8 quarterback rating, which ranked 14th in the NFL, was the best by a Cardinal since Neil Lomax had an 86.7 rating in 1988. Warner's five 300-plus-yard passing games led the league.

A groin injury sidelined Warner for four games in October, and he missed the season's last two games with a knee injury.

Graves said Warner's impact went beyond the field.

"I think more important, it was character," Graves said. "He did tremendously well with our young receivers. He set the tone for the attitude and the kind of effort and dedication that you have to have in order to be a winner.

"He planted the seeds for that, and I think that we'll see the fruits of that a lot more next season," Graves added. "By having players like him that have been in winning situations, they have a lot to offer in terms of helping your younger players grow."

When the Cardinals signed Warner last spring, they hoped he could recapture the form that made him one of the more compelling stories in recent football history. Warner got his start in pro football in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe before blossoming into a star with the St. Louis Rams, with whom he played from 1998 to 2003.

Warner was the league's Most Valuable Player (1999 and 2001) and was selected to three Pro Bowls. He also was the MVP of the 2000 Super Bowl after leading the Rams to the championship against the Tennessee Titans.

In 73 appearances in eight NFL seasons, Warner has passed for 19,214 yards and 119 touchdowns. His career completion percentage of 65.7 (1,537-for-2,340) is the highest ever in the NFL, and his lifetime quarterback rating of 94.1 is second to Hall of Famer Steve Young (96.8) among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 1,500 passes.

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