News of Cardinals QB Kurt Warner‘s retirement quickly spread throughout the NFL on Friday, and when it reached two of his teammates at Pro Bowl practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., they were sad to hear it.
“That’s a bittersweet subject for us,” Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle said Saturday. “I’m happy he’s going out his own way, making his own decisions, but at the same time, he’s going to be missed. He’s been my inspiration and one of my leaders I look to in tough situations, and he’s a great overall person, on and off the field.”
Said Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett: “We’re definitely going to miss him — his leadership and the way he brings it to the game for our team. But at the end of the day, he has to do what’s best for him.”
Rolle and Dockett emphatically agreed that Warner deserves enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — “first ballot,” the safety said — but both also looked to the future of the Cardinals, which mostly likely will include Matt Leinart becoming the starting QB.
“Leinart, I think his time is up now,” Rolle said. “I think it’s time for him to come out there and produce and be the player that Matt knows he can be and the player that we all know he can be. We’re going to be behind him 100 percent of the way.”
Dockett is confident that Leinart, a 2006 first-round draft pick, will do his best.
“It’s a good opportunity to showcase his talents,” Dockett said. “A lot of people are kind of counting him out, but I think he’s going to do a great job. He knows the position should be his, and at the end of the day, he knows he got to work, but he’s got some big shoes to fill, and I think he’ll do just that.”