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Monday, July 11, 2011
Kurt Warner feels compelled to clear air

By Mike Sando

Kurt Warner walked away from $11.5 million when he retired from the Arizona Cardinals with one year remaining on his contract.

"There is something to be said for being able to leave on your terms and playing at the level that you want to play at," Warner said upon his retirement.

Warner
Not everyone was convinced of his motives.

"Warner's people told me he wanted to continue playing but decided to retire after being low-balled," former Cardinals scout Dave Razzano tweeted over the weekend.

Razzano has become a frequent and harsh critic of Cardinals ownership. To what degree are his accusations outdated? To what degree do his criticisms represent sour grapes? Those are issues to weigh while analyzing Razzano's comments on Warner.

The tweet Warner sent out Sunday shot down Razzano's allegations, saying Warner retired because he wasn't willing to sacrifice any longer. That was one reason Warner cited upon his announcing his retirement on Jan. 29, 2010.

Every player has his price and it's safe to assume even Warner would have returned for the right amount of money. But the Cardinals were basically bidding against themselves when they signed Warner following the 2008 season. They knew Warner wanted to stay with the team even though Warner made a visit to the San Francisco 49ers.

Warner signed a contract that paid him handsomely.

If Warner wanted to squeeze more money from the Cardinals, he could have pushed back his retirement announcement into training camp. Instead, he made his retirement announcement less than two weeks after the team's playoff defeat at New Orleans, leaving that $11.5 million on the table.

I could see questioning whether the Cardinals could have done more after the 2009 season, financially and otherwise, to entice one more season from Warner. But the evidence suggests Warner had one foot out the door.