The Week In Sports #17: happy trails, Kurt Warner.

Happy trails to Kurt Warner. One of the greatest and most overlooked quarterbacks in NFL history retired this week. Warner was not even drafted in 1994 after completing his senior season at Northern Iowa. He was signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers, but was cut from the team in training camp. It wasn’t much of a surprise since the names above him on the depth chart were Heisman trophy winner Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell and the ageless Brett Favre.

After Green Bay, he stocked shelves at a grocery store for $5.50 per hour and began working as a graduate assistant at his Alma mater. In 1995, Warner signed to play with the Iowaw Barnstormers of the Arena league. He was named an all-star both seasons and led his team to two Arena Bowl appearances. In ’98 he was signed by the St. Louis Rams, but was dispatched to Amsterdam to play in NFL Europe.

Warner didn’t get his shot at starting in the NFL until Rams starter Trent Green tore his ACL during the ’99 preseason and Warner was pressed into duty. That year, he threw for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes. The former grocery clerk had officially arrived.

He led the Rams to two Super Bowls (one win) before moving on to the Giants (where he helped start young Eli Manning’s career) and eventually Arizona. He led the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLII, a game they eventually lost to Pittsburgh 27-23 on a last second touchdown.

Warner finished his 12-year NFL career with 32,344 passing yards with 208 touchdowns and 128 interceptions. Only Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning have had more 300 yard passing performances in their careers.

Thanks for an exciting career. Please don’t pull a Favre.

NCAA Basketball: It seems like nobody wants to be #1. Texas held the top spot until they lost two in a row. They were replaced by Kentucky who quickly dropped a 68-62 decision against South Carolina. Kansas seems like the likely team to take the top spot when Monday’s rankings come out. Right now, Kansas is #2, Nova is #3 and Syracuse is #4. It remains to be seen how this recent shakeup will affect the rankings. How about ‘Cuse (21-1) for the top ranking? They are #1 in the RPI, but barely beat an under .500 Depaul team today 59-57.

MLB: Spring training is quickly sneaking up on us. The date for catchers and pitchers to report is less than a month away. I’m tired of all of these smelly winter sports. Bring on the baseball. Maybe we can put the steroid issues behind us this year? Nah, probably not. It’s only a matter of time that we find out that not only is Johan Santana really 45 years old, but he’s on so much juice that he doesn’t even know that he has to play for the Mets.

NFL: The Pro Bowl is this week. Let me be the 856th writer to ask why? Why did this seem like a good idea? Having the game the week before the Super Bowl means that twelve players selected can’t play. What kind of sense does that make? Why not have the Pro Bowl in the middle of the season like every other sport so that it actually means something. This makes about as much sense as having your bachelor party the day before your wedding. It only happens in the movies because it’s a bad idea (see: The Hangover).

National Lacrosse League: The Toronto Rock are man handling the rest of the east. Most recently, they took out undefeated Rochester 17-3 in front of a raucous crowd at the ACC.  In the West, the biggest surprise is the Washington Stealth. A team that was expected to take a step down after dealing all world forward Colin Doyle is 4-0 and has outscored opponents by twenty goals. The Stealth’s Jeff Zywicki is the early scoring leader with 10 goals and 16 assists in four games.

Boxing: The much heralded fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao isn’t going to happen any time soon. Personally, someone in boxing should be pushing for it. There isn’t much star power in boxing these days and UFC seems to be quickly taking over. We will get to see Mayweather fight though. He’ll take on “Sugar” Shane Mosley on May 1st at the MGM Grand Garden. It’s not Mayweather/Pacquiao, but it’s still pretty darn good. I still won’t pay to see it though.

*Are you a fan of a particular sport that you want me to cover next week or know of any sports stories you want me to mention? This is your article, not mine. Have at it. Throw me an email

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. I’m @ChrisOsburn. You can read about things I think about sports and culture, but mostly my (lack of) suspension of disbelief when it comes to ‘80’s comedies.

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