Veteran quarterbacks Kurt Warner (13) and Brett Favre will meet up Sunday when the Cardinals play the Jets in New York.
VIENNA, Va. – Once, before Kurt Warner was throwing touchdown passes for the Cardinals, before he was winning MVPs or a Super Bowl with the Rams, even before he was quarterbacking the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena Football League, he was Brett Favre's teammate.
It wasn't all that long, just for a summer in 1994. Favre was about to become a star for the Green Bay Packers that season. Warner was fourth on the depth chart, behind Mark Brunell and Ty Detmer.
Warner was, Favre recalled Wednesday, "just a guy."
"He's one of those guys who, when he got the opportunity, he made the most of it," Favre said. "That's an understatement."
The two men will lead their teams against each other Sunday, when the Cards visit the New York Jets. The storyline will focus on the two older quarterbacks – Warner at 37, Favre at 38 – and their continued success as the years have passed by.
Favre remembers Warner a little differently though, as a young kid in Packers minicamp who Favre asked to go in for a play. Warner declined, telling Favre he wasn't ready.
Favre said he and Steve Mariucci, then the Packers' quarterbacks coach, had a laugh about the story a couple of weeks ago remembering it all these years later.
"He's not afraid to go in now," Favre said.
Warner said despite his short time in Green Bay, he actually felt better about his chances to be an NFL quarterback after being with the Packers. It kept his confidence level high even through the years when he wasn't in the league.
Warner wasn't starting for the Cardinals the last time Favre faced them, when the Cards visited Green Bay in 2006. The last time the two played against each other was when Warner was starting for the Giants in 2004.
"You knew our paths were going to cross a number of times," Warner said. "Last year, at (ages) 37 (for Favre) and 36 (for Warner), we each had one of our best seasons in the NFL. That part is fun because you realize in this business a lot of people want to throw you out when you get old."
Warner had to fight his way into the starting lineup this season. Favre retired as a member of the Packers early in the offseason, and then helped create the main storyline of the NFL offseason by wanting to return when the Packers did not want him back.
He was traded to the Jets early in training camp, leaving many to wonder how quickly he could assimilate a new offense.
Favre is completing 70 percent of his passes and has thrown six touchdowns to only three interceptions. But the Jets are only 1-2, and there have clearly been times when Favre and his receivers have not been on the same page.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said it only made sense it would take time for Favre to work comfortably with his new teammates, but he wouldn't go as far as saying it benefits the Cards to face Favre now rather than later in the season.
Favre completed 30-of-42 passes against San Diego Monday night.
"My wife told me when I got home that all the commentators kept talking about was 'There's no way Brett could get this offense down in 30 days,' " Favre said. "You know, you (media) have to let it go."
The questions surround Favre now and not Warner, quite the change from just a year ago. Warner is now comfortable in his place in the Cardinals' offense, a learning process that Favre is now apparently going through.
It's not lost on Warner, who like Favre has been accused in the past of turning the ball over too often, that people talk about both needing to adjust their games to be more conservative.
Warner acknowledged both are "gunslingers" that love to attack. But he insisted that the interceptions from both come from trying to find ways to win – mainly when the talent level hasn't been good enough around them.
"If … throwing into tight spaces or taking some chances that may lead to extra interceptions, no problem," Warner said. "We're happy to take that burden upon ourselves because we're going to do whatever we can to win."
It took Warner a little longer than Favre to do that winning, but now, deep into long careers and with a combined five MVPs in tow, both are still effective.
"It's kind of like a badge of courage," Warner said, "to be able to say 'I'm still playing, I'm still able to accomplish things, even at this stage.' "
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 9/24/08.