My Sportsman: Kurt Warner
I realize it's presumptuous, because the sport I cover is football, and I've never met
I take the Sportsman of the Year very seriously. There has to be something to the athlete who wins -- either in charisma, folk-hero status, non-sporting appeal or the ability to use his platform to make the world better -- that goes beyond greatness in the game he plays. Kurt Warner has greatness, of course. He's a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player who will be in contention for a third because of his superb (and surprising) play this year. But those qualities I listed a couple of sentences ago, the ones that a Sportsman has to have in addition to athletic greatness? Warner doesn't have one. He has all four.
In the seven years since Warner's last great full season he has been hurt and benched and risen to play great football and forgotten -- sometimes all in the same year. But in every place he has been he has been a people magnet, because he never allows Warner the athlete to define Warner the person. On the day Warner was benched in Arizona two years ago, the first thing he did when he left coach
Warner and wife
I asked Warner a couple of years ago if he could send a friend of mine,
McGuire cherished it, and when he went home on leave or between tours in Iraq, he told wife
I mentioned to Cardinals PR man
Five calls. On an off-day.
"Unbelievable!'' McGuire said. "I can't believe I missed him, and I can't believe he kept trying.''
"Kurt was disappointed he didn't have a chance to talk with Mike,'' Dalton said. With anyone else, I'd question that. Not Warner.
At 37, Warner went to training camp this year in Arizona to battle for the starting quarterback job with 2006 bonus-baby rookie phenom
One play typifies Warner's year: On the first series of the second game of the season, against Miami, he faded back to pass and a safety came in unblocked. From the slot, wide receiver
America loves a comeback story, especially with an athlete who's a better person than player. In 2008, that Sportsman is Kurt Warner.