Kurt Warner’s circuitous route to the NFL is well documented, but Warner singled out a former teammate who was as important as any other in getting Warner to Canton.
It wasn’t Marshall Faulk or Isaac Bruce, though both earned mention in Warner’s speech. It was Trent Green, the quarterback Warner backed up in 1999.
If Green hadn’t torn up his knee during a 1999 preseason game, Warner acknowledged he might never have become a starting NFL quarterback. The Rams reluctantly turned the job over to Warner, who wrote the ending to a storybook tale with a Super Bowl title that season.
“In the ultimate team game, I’m not much for singling guys out because of all of you played a special role in my being here,” Warner said. “But I would like to recognize one teammate who had a more profound impact on me than any other – Trent Green. Our paths crossed in the most incredible of ways, and I acknowledge you could easily be the one standing up here tonight, but the class that you showed while dealing with the toughest of situations is etched in my mind. Your willingness to share your football secrets so I could succeed was incredibly valuable, but the character you displayed and the way you modeled the definition of teammate was priceless. Those lessons followed me the rest of my career. Thanks for sharpening my character with your own.”
Warner named far fewer people in his speech than the six other inductees Saturday night, instead speaking of “team” as a thread throughout.
“For a long time, I convinced myself that I could will my way to a dream,” Warner said. “As long as I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. But if there is one great truth I learned from this great game, it’s that no great accomplishment is ever achieved by yourself. Being successful is contingent on others, and it always starts with someone taking a chance on you.”