MIAMI -- Kurt Warner strode through radio row at Super Bowl media headquarters Tuesday with his head up, shoulders back and a spring in his step.
The Cardinals' recently retired quarterback reported feeling not even a hint of regret since announcing his decision Friday. We should have known it would be this way when Warner made it through his retirement news conference without crying. He teared up briefly when referring to support his wife and children have provided during his career, but this decision was a long time in the making, not a hasty reaction to a physically and mentally demanding season.
"I'm not worried about it, fretting what happens in the fall," Warner said between radio interviews. "I just knew it was the right time. I'm not willing to give what it would have taken moving forward and I didn't want to lose sight of that after the season once I got away. I knew that during the season and I had to make my decision off of that."
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt made it clear to Warner that the organization would accommodate him if he wanted to scale back his commitments.
"When I told him I was leaning toward it (retirement), it was basically, 'Whatever you need, whatever we can do to get you refreshed and back,' " Warner said. "The hardest part wasn't the fact that I wasn't refreshed going into the season. It's just how much it took within our circumstances and with what I expected of myself during the season. I could have been as refreshed as all get out, but if I was still going to put in that much time and expect that much from myself, then it wasn't going to change anything."
Warner essentially talked himself into returning for the 2009 season. The fact that he would walk away from $11.5 million in scheduled compensation for 2010 affirms as much. Warner was ready to walk away.
"I just couldn't deny it any more," Warner said. "Trying to deny it, saying, 'OK, that was just this one year, it was a long year, Super Bowl, this next year is going to be different.' When I felt it again, where I just wasn't enjoying it like I used to, it was just confirmation that this is it, it's time. Time off or not going to training camp or not having to run, that is not going to do it. The expectation from Monday through Saturday is not going to change. It's always going to be the same because I've set the standard and I just can't give what it takes."