The best memory I have of Kurt Warner has nothing to do with the praise he received as a player but the standing ovation he received as a man.
Traveling with the team has its privileges. The charter is a great way to travel; they feed you when you get on the plane, during the flight and hand you extra-large Butterfingers (big enough to lay a bunt down with) as you exit the fuselage. The bus ride to the hotel provides the entertainment. Police escorts are the only way to travel. There’s nothing so liberating as rolling through rush-hour traffic in a motorcade made of four tour buses and 2 moving vans. Darting in and out of gridlock at 60 mph makes the bus feel like a Ferrari.
But the best part of traveling with the team is to see the players and how they react to each other and fans when they’re not in their element. It tells you a lot about the man that is the player. But traveling with Kurt Warner and watching how he responded to people is what I’ll remember most about Greybeard.
Like when we’d make the annual trip to St. Louis. Getting off the bus, walking through the tunnel, past security, marching towards the locker room in the Edwards Jones Dome was a coronation for Kurt Warner. Every year, the employees of the stadium would give Kurt a standing ovation; whether he was the backup to Matt Leinart or the starting QB of Super Bowl 43, it didn’t matter: a standing ovation was his reward for treating people with dignity and respect – no matter their lot in life. Watching him pass the “little people” reminded me of why they revered him so much: they didn’t care how successful he was as a player because he only cared about how successful they were as people. His body language reminded them of this always: his head down in genuine humiliation and his smile wide.
He was just Kurt; and they were just people. Equals in God’s sight…and his and theirs.