St. Louis, A Super Place for Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner had his best playing days in St. Louis. On Sunday, he'll look to relieve his glory days but this time in red. Arizona hopes to further its lead by taking care of its divisional opponent in the first of a three-game NFC West showdown. Warner talks about why Arizona is on top, the sudden success of Steve Breaston, clears the air about retirement rumors and much more in this exclusive.

(On if he is surprised that the Cardinals are first in the division)

"No. I think that is where we hoped we would be. That was our expectation coming in and we made strides last year and we wanted to improve on that this year. I think we have to a degree but we still have a long way to go though. It is nice to be in that position now and know that you have an opportunity to dictate your own fate moving forward. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. A lot of tough games but I think that was our expectations coming in, if we could start off fast and put ourselves in a good position and we have done that so far. We have to continue improving."

(On what it is like coming back to St. Louis playing for another team)

"It is always special. The farther you get separated from it, I think the less you think about it. Last night I had a chance to have dinner with Coach (Dick) Vermeil, talked to (RB) Marshall (Faulk) a couple weeks ago, saw (WR) Isaac (Bruce) a few weeks ago. Anytime you have a reminder like that, it just reminds you of the great times that you had. It has been a number of times this year when we have just been out there playing and the offense has been clicking and the first thing that comes to my mind is, this is what it felt like back in St. Louis. That is the first thing that comes up in my mind. So many special memories and it is so great to come back. I love the people and I love the organization and I appreciate what they did for me. Love the building and I love to play in that building so it is going to be fun and I look forward to it every time."


WR Donnie Avery
(Getty)

(On how accurate the reports were about him retiring earlier this season)

"Not completely accurate. It was more reported that I was ready to quit at that moment and not play another down and that really was not how it transpired. It was more of a text to my wife saying, I don't know how much longer I want to do this, this maybe it for me meaning this maybe my last season. It really shook me up and it was something that my wife had been concerned with and my kids had been concerned about for a number of years.

They are just always concerned that I am not going to get up sometimes when I am hit or I am not going to come home and be dad or be the husband that I have been called to be because of me getting banged up. Seeing that up close and personal and seeing (WR) Anquan (Boldin) in that position, it really shocked me and it really made me contemplate about what I want to do moving forward and it is something that I am going to think about as this season comes to an end. I just want to make sure that I make the right decision."

(On what he has to do get the running game going)

"We just have to get better. I think one of the things we have to do is continue to try to implement a package that compliments the way we throw the ball. As we spread it out with three and four wide receivers out there when we're at our best passing, we have to be able to build a running game in that compliments that. That we can run and be successful in those kind of sets and not have to change it up too much to run the football, that's really, I think, going to be the key for us to make sure we're running in favorable situations, make sure we're making it up and make sure we're doing it in the same type of sets that we're throwing it out of and I think we'll be just fine."

(On how he's matured as a player and the great receivers he has)

"I feel like I'm playing as well as I ever have. I think I'm seeing the field, I feel physically like I'm just as good as I was in those days that I can still make all the throws. I don't know if I'm playing better, but I feel like I'm playing as well as I did in some of those years. I think a lot of it has to do with that I've finally been in the system a couple years, the system plays to my strengths again, which I don't think I've had for number of years and they're giving opportunities to just play football how I play football. Its great position to be in and I think that's how I thrive.

That's what Mike (Martz) was able to do with us when we were going there is he put me in positions to play how I play and they've done that here the last couple years and I think we've seen the rewards from that. I've seen the rewards from that and it's exciting and it never hurts to have great wide receivers around you, great players around you. There's no question that's why I had success in St. Louis because I had great players around me. And it's the same here. I have two great receivers. I have one up-and-coming young receiver who's played great for us. We just have a great compliment of players that allows me to play that game and allows us to do some different things that a lot of teams can't do and it's fun to be in control of that."


WR Donnie Avery
(Getty)

(On if he is tracking the Rams wide receiver corps with rookie WR Donnie Avery)

"Yeah, he is, he's been playing well. He's been making some huge plays for them, especially recently. Unfortunately, I don't get a chance to track him as much as I would like. Still love to see my man (WR) Torry (Holt) doing well. Glad to see (QB) Marc (Bulger) getting back on track and those types of things, but haven't had a great chance to watch a lot of them, but I have seen that the young kids have really come in and done a good job lately."

(On what it will be like for him to see Dick Vermeil's name on the Ring of Fame)

"Special, special individual. One of the greatest years of my life was that year with Coach Vermeil and winning the Super Bowl. I just can't say enough about him. It's definitely an honor that's well deserved and it's neat that I'm going to get an opportunity to be playing the game where he's inducted to the Ring of Honor. It was fun, I got a chance to have dinner with him last night and we talked about it and he's still as humble as ever about it. It's definitely something that he's proud of."

(On what makes Coach Vermeil so different from other coaches)

"What makes him so different is just his love for the players; it's unique that it goes beyond the football field. It goes so much deeper than that. The things that his players care about, he cares about. The things that are important to his players he makes important to him. He makes it a point to know and to stay in touch with players that he's had around him for years and years. I've just never been around a coach that goes to that much effort and has that much care for the guys that play for him and it just endears every player that I've ever known that's played for him, it endears them to him and they just can't say good things about him and it just makes him unique and special and when you've played for him, you're just glad you've had the opportunity to be with him for however long it was."

(On if he would like to join Coach Vermeil in the Ring of Fame)

"You guys ought to know me by now, I don't expect anything. There's absolutely no expectations. Everything's that happened in my career has far exceeded any expectation I had coming in, so who knows, I have no idea. I know my time there was great. I'm going to love to see the guys that go into it because a number of them are going to be guys I know from the great years that we had in St. Louis, but I have no expectation of that. It would obviously be a tremendous honor, something that I would cherish because my time there was special, but no expectation on that."

(On the rumors about his contract extension and on how good he has it in Arizona)

"I know that if I want to keep playing, I want to be here in Arizona. I don't want to go anywhere else. I don't want to move my family. That would be a huge part of the decision moving forward is to know that opportunity would be here in Arizona. There's no question about that.

As far as any talks, nothing that I'm aware of has gone on up to this point, unless my agent hasn't kept me informed recently of any talks. Up until fairly recently, they haven't talked at all. I don't know what that means moving forward, but I want, if I continue to play, to be here in Arizona and want to finish my career here and built what we have started the last couple of years. That's all I really have to say at this point."


WR Steve Breaston
(Getty)

(On if he is surprised that WR Steve Breaston has been able to step in and contribute as much as he has to the offense already)

"I'd say to some degree. We've all seen signs of what we thought Steve (Breaston) can do, but to play at the level that he has for the last three or four weeks, eight, nine, 10 catches for 100+ yards, three or four times. That's great football, whether you are stepping in for somebody or whether you're a starter. To think and have the expectations that he would come in and do that, I don't think anybody had those expectations. We are so pleased with what he's doing and the way that we are seeing him grow each and every week. The way that he's gaining confidence just as we are gaining confidence in him. It's fun to have those three guys together out there. It makes us a special unit."

(On WR Anquan Boldin having surgery and then three weeks later going out and practicing and playing like nothing happened and if he is a special guy)

"He's just that. He's a special guy. He plays the game in a special way, a very unique player, a very tough player, competitive like few guys I've ever been around. He is a special individual. Like you said, nobody had any expectation for when he would get back on the field. We knew he would get back on the field.

We knew he'd do whatever he could to get back as soon as possible, I think you guys are right, coming back as quickly as he did after what he did. Not only to come back, but also to play the game the way that he did last week, that's just a visual of how special a player he is, how competitive he is and really what he means to this football. He is a leader on this team and he helps make us go. Everybody around the league sees why after watching what has transpired over the past few weeks."


CardinalsSource Top Stories