QB Kurt Warner and his Arizona Cardinals fell just short of victory in Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But now that the big game is over, what does the future hold for the 37-year-old quarterback? Will he return to the Cardinals? Play for another team? Retire?
Warner, who completed 31 of 43 passes for 377 yards with three touchdowns in the loss, enters the offseason as a free agent. The Arizona Republic reported the team likely will offer Warner a two-year deal for around $18 million.
If the Cardinals decide to re-sign Warner, what does that mean for backup Matt Leinart? Arizona drafted Leinart as a franchise quarterback with the No. 10 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, but Warner beat him out in training camp for the starting job. Would the Cardinals opt to re-sign Warner and trade Leinart? Keep both of them?
Warner kept mum on his future when asked about it following the Super Bowl loss. In a postgame interview, NFL Network's Kara Henderson asked Warner if Super Bowl XLIII would be his last game, and he said: "I think there's definitely a chance. I don't really know right now. I'm not willing to make a definite decision one way or the other."
Warner told the Republic that he wanted to savor the moment after an impressive Super Bowl run: "I don't know if I'm going to play next year. … I haven't thought about that. I'm going to enjoy what we accomplished as a football team. I'm going to enjoy this great game we just played in, and I'm going to take some time away from the game and make that decision."
Warner expounded on that topic on NFL Network, saying, "It's always hard, whether it be a loss or being in the Super Bowl or being beat up at this point to say, 'Oh, man, I don't know if I want to do this anymore,' but I just got to get away from it.
"I enjoyed this year so much. To accomplish what we accomplished, that's the great part of this sport. … That part makes it a little more lively and more excited about what this game can bring and really what you miss if you leave this game."
One player who wants Warner back is Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. The Pro Bowl player told USA Today he'll do what he can to convince Warner to return next season: "Absolutely, we're going to talk to him to keep playing. … You're playing at this level, an MVP-caliber season, why would you walk away now?"