posted on Jun, 1 2004 @ 05:43 PM
ST. LOUIS(AP) - Kurt Warner's storybook stay with the St. Louis Rams ended Tuesday, but
he's unlikely to be out of work for long. The release without fanfare of the two-time NFL MVP, who led the Rams to two Super Bowls but has struggled
the last two seasons, signaled the final endorsement of Marc Bulger as the team's No. 1 quarterback.
Bulger took over as the starter for good after Warner fumbled six times, perhaps while playing under the effects of a mild concussion, in last year's
season opener. Warner appeared to have regained his form last year with a strong preseason before his stumbling start in New York. Bulger never gave
the Rams a reason to reconsider Warner the rest of the year.
Bulger, who is 18-4 as the Rams regular-season starter, signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract in April as the first major sign that Warner would
not be back. The team also signed backup Chris Chandler to a free-agent deal, and excused Warner from a three-day minicamp last month, all of which
made Tuesday's news less than a blockbuster event.
Mark Bartelstein, Warner's agent, said that Jay Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations, told him that the team had filed the necessary
papers with the NFL office.
"I think there's a lot of mixed emotions," Bartelstein said. "He's had so much success and such a great relationship with everyone in St. Louis.
"It's an unbelievable chapter in his life and an unbelievable chapter in the NFL. To leave that, I think, is hard, but he's in the prime of his
Bartelstein said four or five teams remained in the running for Warner's services, although most signs point to him signing with New York. He expected
Warner, likely the biggest name to enter the second phase of free agency, would sign by the end of the week.
"Teams are calling all the time," Bartelstein said. "Kurt and I kind of have a preference, where we think is the best fit, and we're going to see
if we can get that worked out. "If we can, great, and if not, there's other choices."
By signing less than two months from the start of training camp, Warner is unlikely to get any guarantees of playing time. From that standpoint, the
Giants might be the best fit right now.