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Updated Mar 2, 2012 - 2:31 pm

Bounty or not, Kurt Warner says big hit didn't cause him to retire

Kurt Warner took one of the hardest hits you'll ever see in his final NFL game.

Warner threw an interception in a playoff game against the Saints, and and was drilled by New Orleans' Bobby McCray on the return.

A report has come out that says the Saints offered players money for knocking certain players out of the game, a kind of "bounty" for injuring opponents.

Was Warner one of them?

"To think that guys didn't think, 'hey, we'd love to knock Kurt out or we'd love to knock Brett Favre out, or Drew Brees -- or whoever it might be -- I think that's part of the game and I think that's part of the mindset," Warner told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Friday. "I'm not going to tell you that I haven't believed that there were probably defensive players that got together and said, 'hey, $1,000 for the first guy to knock Kurt out of the football game.'

"I'm sure that's been a part of our league for a long time."

Warner retired a couple weeks later, with many feeling like that game -- and specifically, that hit -- helped lead to the decision.

Warner, though, said that while the hit was "a nice exclamation point" on his decision, it wasn't the reason he walked away from the game.

"I had known well into that season that there was a strong likelihood of me retiring, and going into that game I believed that if we did lose -- or wherever we lost throughout the playoffs -- that it would be my last game playing," he said. "It had nothing to do with one hit, or one incident; it was something that I had thought about and prayed about for a long time leading up to that final game."

Besides, as Warner said, the big hit he took wasn't illegal.

"It was a violent hit, no question, but I also believe it was a legal hit," he said. "That I don't believe Bobby McCray did anything -- he didn't clip me, he didn't hit me in the head. He didn't do anything that I would look at and say 'man, that's out of the confines of the game, he was just trying to hurt me.'"


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