Cards have offseason concerns

Updated: February 4, 2009, 9:28 AM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Kurt Warner's future is chief among the serious contract issues facing the Arizona Cardinals in the aftermath of their improbable run to the Super Bowl.

Warner said Monday that he has no timetable for a decision on whether he will retire from the game.

Kurt Warner

Warner

"I'm going to weigh everything and I'm sure I'll talk to the Cardinals and see what their plans are for the future," Warner said as he and the other players cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday. "When I get all the information I can sit back and pray about it and see what God leads me to do."

Warner will turn 38 before next season begins and is coming off a year that rivals any in his career. He said that simply because he had a good season, it isn't automatic that he would return to the game.

"There are so just many issues that go into it," Warner said. "The bottom line for me is that it's never about touchdown passes and winning games and all that stuff. Obviously that plays into it and it's fun and that's why I play the game. But that's not going to be the determining factor on me coming back or not coming back.

"It's going to be whether I feel it's the right thing to do and whether I feel that's what God's calling me to do."

NFLTA: Warner's future

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Veteran QB Kurt Warner talks about whether he'll return to the Cards next season.

Warner said he's "had a tremendous career and accomplished a lot of things and believe God put me here for a purpose, and I believe this season was part of that. I'm just going to move forward and see what is in store for me, whether it's playing a few more years, one more year or whether it's going off to do something else."

Two other players figure prominently in the Cardinals' offseason decisions.

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin has two years left on his contract but is unhappy that he has not been given a new deal.

He said at the start of training camp that management lied by failing to follow through with what he said was a promise of a new contract. At the time, Boldin said he would never re-sign with Arizona, but the Cardinals have made it clear they want to talk with him about a new deal.

Big-play linebacker Karlos Dansby was the team's franchise player this season and wants a long-term deal. He said he wants to stay with Arizona but would be frustrated if he retains the franchise tag, which would give him the average of the NFL's five highest-paid players at his position.

Warner, one of five Arizona players to participate in Sunday's Pro Bowl, would not rule out signing with another team but indicated that would be his least-favorite option.

"There's no question that I want to finish my career as an Arizona Cardinal," he said. "My mind-set is that if I'm going to play, I don't want it to be anywhere else. Does that mean I won't play anywhere else? If that's how things work out, that doesn't mean that.

"But that's way, way back in the back of my mind. I'm really believing that if I play again that it will be in an Arizona Cardinal uniform."

The Cardinals have made it clear to Warner that they want him back but coach Ken Whisenhunt said he understood that the quarterback might consider leaving the game.

"I couldn't tell you if I'd be surprised or not," Whisenhunt said. "There's been a lot of talk about that, even from after the Jet game earlier in the season, so it's been out there ... He's going to do it the right way, and I respect that."

The coach was referring to Warner being so upset he considered leaving the game after Boldin was knocked out by a ferocious hit against the New York Jets.

As for Boldin, Whisenhunt said his position has not changed.

"He's an outstanding football player and we want him on this team," Whisenhunt said, "and we're going to do everything that we can to make sure that he's compensated fairly for where he is. That's not changed since training camp. The first opportunity that we get, we're going to address that."

Dansby said the Cardinals "know I want to stay" but if they franchise him again "that would be a tough situation."

"I want to sit down and talk and see where we're at," he said. "Hopefully, we can get something done."

Also to be determined is the fate of running back Edgerrin James, who has one year left on his contract. James was benched for seven games during the season but came back to have a solid performance in the playoffs. He said late in the season that he expected the Cardinals to release him by mutual agreement.

After Sunday's loss, he said his representatives would have to sit down with the team to see what the future holds.

Other unrestricted free agents on the team are defensive end Bertrand Berry, running back-kick returner J.J. Arrington, cornerback Ralph Brown, fullback Terrelle Smith, nose tackle Gabe Watson, tight ends Leonard Pope and Jerame Tuman, linebacker Clark Haggans, guard Elton Brown and punter Ben Graham.

Whisenhunt said he doesn't know when he will watch the video of the Super Bowl. Right now, he said, it's too painful. Besides, he said he's already rerunning the game in his mind "24-7."

The coach's voice choked with emotion when he talked about how the team's deep playoff run had helped to change the franchise's image.

"Our story for the season was a great story," he said, "and we were very fortunate that we were in a position where it was told on a national stage, our success at the end, and that's something you can always be proud of."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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