CARDINALS QB, AGE 37
After seeing WR Anquan Boldin knocked out by a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Jets on Sept. 28, Warner reportedly talked about retiring.
Dan Patrick: Did you want to retire?
Kurt Warner: It was more saying, I don't know how much longer I want to do this. Not meaning this was the last game I ever played, but this may be my last season. I'd never seen anything like that up close. It shook me.
DP: Was the role you played in throwing that pass a factor?
KW: Definitely. I've always prided myself on letting my receivers know, I'm going to protect you.
DP: What did you say to him when he was lying there?
KW: I just told him that I loved him and was going to be praying for him. [Boldin fractured his sinus membrane.]
DP: In your next game, Bills QB Trent Edwards got knocked out [he left the game with a concussion]. What goes through your mind?
KW: I think how many times in the last couple years my wife has told me, "Sometimes I don't care if you guys win or lose. All I want is for you to get up every time you get hit." When you have seven kids at home like I do, that kind of stuff sinks in when you see someone motionless on the field. You always think, It's never going to happen to me. I grew up in Iowa, with tornadoes all around me. I remember thinking, They're never going to hit my house. Then my wife's parents are killed in a tornado.
DP: Last time you had a concussion?
KW: 2003, against the Giants.
DP: What's it feel like?
KW: Like you're outside yourself, like you're looking at a situation from afar. It's weird because you still feel like you can move and run, but everything's delayed a little bit.
DP: What are you playing for now?
KW: I'm playing because I still love the game. And I'm really playing for another chance at a championship.
DP: Does the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2002 haunt you?
KW: I probably think about that more than any game I've played, including the Super Bowl that I won. It felt like we were the better team. But we didn't play better that day, and you hate to miss an opportunity like that.
The $100 Million Question
GIVEN THAT he's up for a new contract, you knew that Manny would be the best actor in Hollywood when he was traded to the L.A. Dodgers—not just hitting, but hustling. The big question this off-season is, What will those two months be worth? About four years and $100 million, is the answer Manny and agent Scott Boras will most likely want from the Dodgers. But as good as Manny's been in L.A., how could you take that risk? While Manny has been loving National League pitching, if he's signing a long deal at age 36, he'd be better on a team where he can DH. And how do you write a contract that guarantees he won't repeat all the nonsense that got him run out of Boston: "Um, Manny, when you say you're too hurt to play, we'll need three doctors' notes. And we're going to insert a 'run hard' clause, O.K.?"
BRETT FAVRE'S four-bedroom, three-bath house in Green Bay went up for sale, for $475,000 (given his number, I suppose the price had to start with a 4). A Packers fan should snap it up and turn it into a shrine. Here's how I'd work it:
• TAILGATE PARTIES. Any cheesehead on the Lambeau waiting list would pay to party there. Suggested rate: $44.
• A BACKYARD STATUE of Don Majkowski tearing an ankle ligament, to commemorate Favre's first start.
• THE CRAIG NALL HALLWAY, hung with portraits of all Favre's backups.
• THE GUYS from Favre's Wrangler commercial, always available for an impromptu game of touch football.
• A SPARE ROOM for Aaron Rodgers.
He Feels Their Pain
HERE'S A flip side to Kurt Warner's fear of injury: Ray Lewis's joy of hitting. He described to me the tackle that fractured the shoulder of Steelers back Rashard Mendenhall on Sept. 29: "The force was freaking incredible," he said. "After the play I wasn't screaming, 'He's hurt.' I was screaming, 'He's done.'" The Ravens linebacker said he'd take a hit like that over a sack or an INT any day. One thing he shares with Warner: a nod to the heavens. Lewis says after a big hit he recites the Lord's Prayer on the way back to the huddle.
THE FINE PRINT: TBS has announced that for the 2009 postseason, Frank Caliendo will be kept on a strict pitch count.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more from Kurt Warner and other recent interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon ET, Mon.--Fri.
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER
ROBERT BECK (RAMIREZ)
COREY WILSON/PRESS-GAZETTE (HOUSE)
BILL KOSTROUN/AP (WARNER)