Is this the end for Kurt Warner?

One of the cruel things about sports is that even great players don’t always go out on top.

Kurt Warner completed 17-of-26 pass attempts for 205 yards on Saturday, but the Saints blew out the Cardinals 45-14 to end Arizona’s bid to repeat as NFC champions. Warner also threw an interception, took one hellacious hit from Saints’ DE Bobby McCray and spent most of the afternoon looking completely out of rhythm. His performance was a stark contrast from his 379-yard, five-touchdown effort in the Cardinals’ 51-45 win over the Packers last week in overtime.

Following the loss to the Saints, Warner said that he doesn’t have a target date for his retirement decision, although he noted that it wouldn’t be a long process. Knowing how classy Warner is, he won’t announce a decision before the Super Bowl, as to not take any attention away from the final two teams.

The fan in me hopes that Warner will return next season. He proved again this year that he can still perform at a high level and the Cardinals’ window of opportunity is far from closing. But given how involved he is with charities and special projects off the field, nobody will be surprised if he decides to hang up his cleats for good in the offseason.

If he does decide to call it a career, there’s nothing left that he has to prove. He’s been the consummate professional and one heck of a player.


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Fantasy Football Quick-Hitters: Matt Moore, Jamal, Julius, Kurt and DeSean

Matt Moore will start for the Panthers in Week 13. I don’t know what to make of this move. Jake Delhomme has been dreadful (183 yards, 0.7 TD, 2.3 INT per game), but if the coaching staff felt that Moore could be better, why didn’t they make this change when the Panthers were still in the hunt for a playoff spot? Carolina beat the Falcons in Week 10 to advance to 4-5 and Delhomme had just come off a three game stretch where he threw three picks and failed to throw a TD. It’s hard to believe that Moore could be any worse. He’s in his third season and has a career 63.5 QB rating in limited action. He only saw significant time in a three-game stretch at the end of the 2007 season. He averaged 188 yards, 1.0 TD and 0.7 INT during that span. But this really isn’t about Moore. No one is going to be starting him this week. It’s about Steve Smith, who has been inconsistent with Delhomme under center. Will Moore be better? I think so — and that means Smith is a decent option this week against a sketchy Bucs secondary.

Jamal Lewis’s season is over.
And what a season it was. He averaged 56 rushing yards over nine games and failed to score a TD. It’s hard to see any Browns running back putting up good numbers in this anemic offense, but Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings will try. Rotoworld seems to think that Jennings is the better bet, but Harrison is listed first on the Browns’ depth chart and he does have a 29-carry, 121-yard outing under his belt (in Week 4 against the Bengals). Jennings was limited in practice Wednesday with an ailing shoulder, so it’s hard to see him carrying a full load this week. He has gotten more touches of late. Given his shoulder injury, I’d bet on Harrison getting more work this week, but it’s tough to say.

Julius Jones returns to full practice but Seahawks will go with the hot hand. It’s doubtful that Seattle is going to overwork Jones, not when Justin Forsett has been so effective in his place. It seems clear that Forsett will get some touches, and if he outperforms Jones, he could be the team’s closer. This makes Forsett a decent flex play in a good matchup against the 49ers.

Kurt Warner back at practice, splitting first team reps. He has apparently been cleared to play, but concussions are tricky. Arizona doesn’t play until Sunday night, so if you have another good option, don’t put all of your eggs in Warner’s basket. If he does play, it’s an upgrade for the entire Arizona offense, Brett Favre and the Minnesota receivers (because the Cardinals are more likely to be in the game) and a downgrade for the Vikings’ defense.

DeSean Jackson likely out for Week 13. He’s having his own concussion issues, so look for Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek to pick up the slack in a great matchup against a porous Atlanta pass defense.


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