Warner will return to the NFL in 2009

While speculation swirled after Super Bowl XLIII about whether Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner would play or retire, the Cardinals had little doubt.

Warner regularly showed up to the Cardinals’ training facility, according to team sources. He met with Cardinals coaches. He talked as if he were hardly ready to walk away from the game. Few within the organization had any reason to think that Warner was done with football.

Now it is confirmed. Warner’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Chicago Sun-Times at the scouting combine that his client had made his decision official.

“He’s decided he’s going to play,” Bartelstein said. “He’s made up his mind. He wants to play, and he always wanted to play.”

That is consistent with the sentiments coming from the Cardinals. Now the two sides must work out a contract, which should not be difficult. Warner wants to be in Arizona, and the Cardinals want him there. It’s a similar story with free-agent-quarterback-to-be Kerry Collins and the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee has offered Collins a starting job, a lucrative contract extension and the chance to be with a team and city he loves.

Most people around the league believe that, unless Collins unexpectedly retires, he will return to quarterback the Titans again. It is his best and most appealing option, just as the Cardinals are Warner’s.

But now, with each quarterback, it’s a numbers game. If the numbers are fair, both teams and both quarterbacks win.

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