Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is still proud of what the team accomplished during his last years there, highlighted by their Super Bowl appearance in 2008. But in an interview with Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620, he admitted the pressure during those seasons might have cut his career a few years short.
Warner, who was 38 during his final season with the Cardinals, said that physically he was still able to perform when he retired but that mentally he was too worn out to continue playing at that level.
"Physically, I felt really good," Warner said. "I really felt like I could've played, but it was that mental stress and strain that was really taking a lot out of me."
Warner explained that because the Cardinals' roster may not have had the same level of talent the other top teams had, the burden fell upon him as the quarterback.
"You go out and throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and win a game, and it's more of an exhale like, ‘Okay, I did it. Now I've got to turn around and do it again next week,'" Warner said. "That's just when it starts to wear on you mentality and starts to wear you down and it becomes more of a job than really just enjoying the game."
He also played a larger role within the Cardinals, trying to take the team to heights its fans hadn't seen.
"We were trying to change a whole organization," Warner said. "We were trying to change the personality of what was going on here in Arizona and that took work. It took work to convince the organization to push to new levels and in doing that I had to push to new levels and demanded more of myself as well as everyone demanding more of me. It was a unique situation."
Warner reiterated how proud he was of the team's accomplishments despite the mental toll it took, saying, "It was one of the most rewarding situations I was ever in because I had to do a lot and because we overcame a lot."
The Cardinals went 10-6 in Warner's final year, as he threw for 3,753 yards along with 26 TDs over 15 games.