Reports: Warner leaning toward return

Updated: February 21, 2009, 12:59 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner told the Arizona Republic on Friday he will likely return next season.

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"I am leaning in that direction," Warner, 37, told the Republic via text message. "Not sure I have made a definitive decision yet."

Warner's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said his client is coming back. He told the Republic that Warner, "wants to play, for sure."

Warner's contract expired after the season and he will become an unrestricted free agent Feb. 27.

Warner said before last season he planned to play two more years. But he created doubt after the Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII to Pittsburgh by saying he was going to listen to what God had to say to him about retiring.

"Any time you are in your thirties and you finish a season where you have that long of a year going through the Super Bowl, you always want to take a second to take a deep breath and digest where you're at and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons," Bartelstein told the Chicago Sun Times. "He loves to play. He loves to compete and obviously he's still one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL."

Warner will likely return to the Cardinals who, according to the Republic, have made him an offer.

"We're not going to fool anybody," Bartelstein told the Sun Times. "He'd like to stay in Arizona. That would be his first choice. But he owes it to himself and his family to have an open mind. If we can get a deal done with the Cardinals, great. If not, then obviously you've got to look at free agency."

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