Kurt Warner believes in developmental leagues


Without a robust Arena League or the long-defunct World League, Kurt Warner may have never been anything more to the NFL community than a guy to whom people would say, “Hey, you have the same name as the guy who played running back for the Seahawks.” (Like the attitude, only spelled different.)

Warner (Kurt not Curt) therefore believes that it’s important for the NFL to have a true developmental league.

“[T]here’s a lot of these young guys that are extremely talented and have great college careers but they’re never prepared for what takes place at the next level,” Warner said during a recent visit to PFT Live. “So I think that’s why you’re seeing a very NFL-star league when you’re talking about quarterbacks because a lot of these guys, it’s just tough for them to develop. They’ve never learned it and so now they’re trying to learn it at the highest level and it’s just hard to do. So I worry about that greatly that there’s no place, no training ground, no opportunity for them to play, and I say that I think that was the greatest thing for me.”

Getting released by the Packers in 1994 laid the foundation for those opportunities in other football leagues.

“From the time I got cut with Green Bay until the day I retired, Brett Favre did not miss a single start . . . not a single start. So had I stayed there, if anything I’m a backup for whatever number of years if I ever get an opportunity to start yet while other people were sitting on the bench, I went and played in a whole bunch of football games. Three years in Arena Football, over in NFL Europe. Arena Football was like the two-minute drill every time. You were expected to score, you had to make plays and I learned how to play football. I don’t think there’s any experience that can get you ready to play like playing and that’s what I think is the hard part is there’s no place for these guys to go and develop and learn how to play the quarterback position.”

With a new spring league launching and the CFL and AFL both around (albeit barely), young quarterbacks who can’t get live reps in the NFL should embrace any chance they get to play. Tim Tebow should have done it. Vince Young should have done it. Johnny Manziel should be doing it.

If Kurt Warner hadn’t, he surely wouldn’t be standing next to a bronze bust in August and wearing a gold jacket that actually looks more like mustard than gold but mustard jacket doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

21 responses to “Kurt Warner believes in developmental leagues

  1. I don’t know how anyone but the NCAA (and anyone they kickback to) could be against a development league.

  2. Yeah. So long as they don’t want stuff like ratings and rabid national fan bases, a D-League could work. But as skittlesareyum suggests, good luck getting the NCAA to play nicely.

  3. When did Kurt Warner’s opinion become so relevant?

    This is the guy that once said he wouldn’t want his kids playing football because of injury, now saying developmental leagues are a good thing.

    Warner could play some football, sure…..but his nice guy passive aggressive personality is getting annoying.

  4. Kurt is absolutely right. However, the NFL needs to sponsor it. They have the money. The AFL may not survive after this year (down to just 5 teams) which is too bad because it had a lot of potential, but they didn’t want NFL owners making everybody look bad. They drastically changed the business model and before you knew it anybody with a dollar and a dream could own team. Unmitigated disaster. I’ve never seen anything like it in sports and I watched the XFL. CFL is still a viable option too.

  5. Blame the owners for paying insane money to college QBs that never took an NFL snap. Yes they toned it down some just the same, rookie top 10 wages are skyrocketing again.

  6. I love college football, but there is a need for some sort of NFL-affiliated developmental league. Not only is the QB depth and play below average, quality offensive line play is to be desired. Not trying to spend other people’s money, but one would think if the quality of play increased league wide, that would be a worthwhile ROI.

  7. Warner came by my school when I was in 5th grade. He was playing for the Iowa Barnstormers at the time. Even got to throw the pigskin around with him for a bit. Pretty awesome looking back at that memory having no idea I was playing catch with a future hall of famer. Would have never happened without the presence of a developmental league.

  8. joetoronto says: The bush league CFL has been hanging on for years and needs to be put out of it’s misery?

    The CFL is the healthiest it has been in 40 years, but is hanging on?

    The irony is so funny. Toronto sees the CFL as bush league. The NFL sees Toronto as a bush league city for an NFL franchise as it doesn’t support the game at ANY level. Oh, the irony.

  9. The CFL is barely hanging on? You obviously don’t understand what is going on north of the border regarding football Florio. Although the CFL is tiny in comparison to the NFL, the league is doing just fine and has the richest owners they have ever had.

  10. The problem with a developmental league is that it is really only good for QBs and possibly a handful of other players who simply haven’t been noticed. RBs will be wasting their time as they just wear down as do most guys in the sport. People that call for this have to remember most careers are over after 3 years. This isn’t baseball where you just have to run after the ball or sit in a batters box. 3 years in a development of football can leave your body seriously compromised. Won’t ever happen.

  11. NFL Europe was great for developing Qbs. Sometimes however teams sent crap over. Delineate, brad Johnson and Warner all came from NFLE

    What do you want 3rd stringers doing in the offseason ? Getting real game time is better than holding a clipboard all offseason

    PFT used to mock the league but it did a good job. Just too many times coaches would send over rubbish on the last day like they couldn’t be bothered. Didn’t moan when a quality player like La’Roi Glover improved from playing there. A huge waste not having a developmental league

  12. A development league is a good thing, but the billionaire owners are to cheap to fund it. Owners only care about making money, not improving the game.

  13. A developmental league is exactly what the NFL must put in place. What with concussions and other factors this is a sport near an important crossroads. I foresee in the near future a crisis of College supplied elite athletes. Colleges themselves have a reduced supply of high school athletes as the parents of these kids direct their sons elsewhere and thereby save their kids the various and debilitating effects associated with professional football. A developmental league would be more conducive to auditioning athletes off the street (high school programs) to make up for its thin ranks of college prospects. The day will come when the NFL will depend on a developmental league and its non-college players to make up its ranks.

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