Warner set to make a Decision within a Week

It seems like Kurt Warner is making a decision on what team he wants to play for as much as his three finalists are debating whether or not the 33-year old can still be a productive NFL quarterback.

Warner met with GM Jerry Angelo, head coach Lovie Smith and members of his staff on Friday, including offensive coordinator Ron Turner and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. While at Halas hall, he also took the time to talk with the Chicago media.

The two-time league MVP was upfront with what he's looking for before he signs on the dotted line.

"The best one for me to play, the best one for me as far as I want to win more championships," Warner said. "I want to get back to the Super Bowl. What presents the best opportunity to do that? What presents me with a situation where I know going in what I'm going to get?

"And I also want to find myself a home. I don't want to be a guy that goes in for a year here a year there and just kind of survives. I still believe that I have a lot of football left in me. I still feel great physically and I WANT to find a place that presents an opportunity for me to play out my career."

Before flying to Chicago, Warner met with Arizona on Thursday. He's scheduled to visit the Lions on Sunday with a decision expected within the next week.

Warner went into each of the three teams situations extensively and admitted that Arizona presents the best opportunity to come in and win a starting job.

The Lions could surround Warner with the most talent, but like the Bears, have a former No. 1 draft pick that he would have to beat out.

While the Bears finished with the worst passing offense in the NFL in 2004, the addition of WR Muhsin Muhammad could make Chicago a more attraction destination.

"You want to be part of an organization that's ascending," Warner said. "That's going in the right direction. That's trying to build on character and that's exactly what I want to be apart of is something that can do that. And something that's putting something together that can win a championship and I think that's exactly what they're doing here."

Another factor in Warner being interested in the Bears his relationship with head coach Lovie Smith.

"He's a guy that I respect greatly, I know what he's trying to do," Warner said. "I know the integrity that he brings to the position, what he tells me that's what it's going to be."

Smith was so upfront with Warner last off-season that he told him not to sign with the Bears because it wasn't going to be a good situation for him with Rex Grossman being the unquestioned starter.

The decision turned out to hurt both the Bears and Warner. Grossman's season ending in Week 3 because of a ruptured ACL in his right knee and the offense went into hibernation the remaining 13 games of the year. On the other hand, Warner landed in New York with the Giants. He went 5-4 as a starter, but was benched for the second half of the season in favor of Eli Manning.

The difference between where the Bears were a year ago and are now is Grossman's knee. He's expected to be ready for mini-camp, but the injury leaves some doubt about his durability. Grossman has only started six games over his first two years in the league and has yet to establish himself as a starter in the league.

"They want to win a championship and from that standpoint I would have the opportunity to go out and show the organization what I can do, and that if I showed them that I could be the best player on the football field, the best player to help them win at this time, that I would get that opportunity, that it's not by any means a closed situation," Warner said.

Although Warner has only started 16 games over the past three seasons because of a nagging thumb injury and the development of younger quarterbacks, he sees the time off as a positive.

"I really feel like I'm in the best shape of my life," Warner said. "Over the past two years (I) really played very little football. You know, nine-ten weeks of football and so my body feels great.

"Everybody always makes an issue, well (I'm) 33-34 years old but I'm so fortunate that I'm that age but I haven't taken that many hits. I haven't played in that many games and so I really feel young. I haven't seen any signs of slowing down or my age creeping in. I really feel like I can play five or six more years at this point."

The Cardinals have started contract talks with Warner, while at this time it's unknown if the Bears have made an offer. A decision could come soon after he travels to Detroit to meet with the Lions.

"I want to start the next chapter in my career as soon as I possibly can, but at the same time I'm not going to jump at anything until I think I'm fair with my situation with my family and pick the best situation for me," Warner said.

"Obviously I feel that the greatest chance for me to have success is to get in early, to build myself up not only as a leader but also in an understanding of whatever offense it is so I can hit the field running."


Bear Report Top Stories