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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Warner won't be Eli's backup for next year

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Two-time MVP quarterback Kurt Warner plans to leave the New York Giants after this season rather than remain a backup to Eli Manning.

Kurt Warner
New York Giants
Att Comp PaTD RuTD Int Rat
277 174 6 1 4 86.5

"I am not going to be content being a backup, that's just the bottom line," Warner said Wednesday. "I loved my year here, but I am not content being a backup. I think I showed people and did things here and won games and that I have proven I can play and start in this league."

Warner, 33, said the Giants know how he feels.

"I think that everybody's thought process right now is I want to be somewhere starting next year, and they know it's not here with the New York Giants," said Warner, the one-time Arena League player who led the St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowl appearances, including a championship after the 1999 season.

While Warner signed a two-year contract with the team in June, he has met the criteria necessary to void the final year of the deal.

Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi refused to comment on Warner's contract status.

Warner, who beat out Manning for the starting job in training camp, led the Giants to a 5-2 start. He was replaced by the No. 1 pick overall in the NFL draft after losses to Chicago and Arizona and the team has failed to win a game with Manning at quarterback.

Warner came to New York as somewhat of a question mark. He suffered a concussion in a season-opening loss to the Giants in 2003 and lost his starting job to Marc Bulger.

The Rams gave Bulger a long-term contract and released Warner on June 1. The Giants signed him the following day to be a caretaker until Manning was ready.

Warner, who had been bothered by injuries in recent years, completed 174-of-277 passes for 2,054 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He had a respectable 86.5 passer rating.

"My whole goal was to show people I could throw the football, I could lead and I could win," Warner said. "I think I showed people I could do that. Coming in, nobody had any expectations for this football team and to be a leader of a team that was 5-2 and had the second best record in the NFC, I'm happy with that."

Warner also showed he could be a team player.

After Manning was given the starting job, Warner never once complained. He constantly offered Manning advice and was the biggest cheerleader on the sidelines.

Since being replaced as a starter, Warner has appeared only in a a mop-up role against Baltimore. He immediately led the Giants on a touchdown drive.

Warner said he hasn't concentrated on which teams need a starting quarterback next season, but he mentioned Dallas, Chicago and Miami as possibilities.

Warner said he feels for Manning, who is now winless in six starts heading into the season finale at Giants Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys (6-9) on Sunday night.

"You see his play continually improving week-in, week-out, and you know he is at the point where he just wants to get a victory," Warner said. "He just wants something to go in our favor, for us to make that one play that will make the difference in a game and get win and build off that."