Third Warner homecoming has different feel
The first two return trips,
Searching for candidates at the St. Louis
Never mind that he took his last snap for St. Louis in the 2003 opener, was unceremoniously released before the 2004 season to make way for new blood, or that the dream season was a decade ago.
“He’s always going to be a legend here,” said
Warner’s rise from Iowa grocery story clerk to Arena Football star to obscure backup to storybook leader of a championship team after replacing a highly paid starter lost for the season is almost too good to be true. Warner’s deciding touchdown pass to
“Some days it seems like it was just yesterday,” Warner said. “And other days it seems like it’s been a long time since I was there and we were kind of doing our thing.”
This time around, the vibe is undeniably different. Warner has found success beyond St. Louis, taking the
Arizona (6-3) has a two-game lead in the
He’s the second player in NFL history to pass for more than 13,000 yards for two teams and doesn’t need memory lane quite so much.
Though effusive in his praise of a fan base that, unlike the
He’s a Cardinal now, and proud of it. No. 13 is a hit in two cities.
“No question it’s a special place, but the meaning on the football field isn’t as big as the first couple times going back there,” the 38-yearold Warner said. “I love the place, I love the people, I love playing in that place.
“There’s always a special feeling going back to that. But I have been entrenched here with the
Maybe they don’t love him as much as they used to, either.
Perhaps it’s the
The Warner factor ensures yet another mixed-bag crowd.
“It’s understandable that guys are still wearing his jerseys and still cheering for him when he comes here,” Little said. “It doesn’t surprise me that fans still really love him and really care about him.”
Warner is close to unbeatable at the Edward Jones Dome, with a 25-4 record in 29 starts, including a perfect 4-0 in playoff games. No following that act.
Naturally, he’d like this to be just another game on the schedule as the
“Kurt obviously has history here and I got to play with him three or four years, so he’s a friend,” Bulger said. “We never like to face Kurt because he’s such a great player.”
Warner is the latest in a string of accomplished quarterbacks to test the
Now comes Warner making his 41st consecutive start and on a roll. In the last two games, victories over Chicago and Seattle, he’s completed 73 percent of his passes for 601 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions.
Last week he became the 29th player to throw 200 touchdown passes and had his 51st 300-yard game, tying Dan Fouts for fourth on the NFL career list. Arizona shrugged off an early two-touchdown deficit against the
“I get headaches,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “It’s the same kind of challenges we had last week where you’re dealing with an elite quarterback, all kinds of receivers and skill guys and a good, solid offensive line.”
“I think we got a little pressure on ourselves to try and do too much and try to be too much,” Warner said. “I just think we kind of settled in and got comfortable and started to relax a little bit.”
Resilient team, resilient quarterback.
“Not much surprises me with Kurt anymore,”