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Former NFL pro finds his ‘centre’

Kurt Warner
Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals in a 2010 game in New Orleans. (Photo Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

In his career as an American football quarterback, Kurt Warner played for three National Football League teams: the St Louis Rams, the New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals.

He announced his retirement in 2009 with the following statistics to his name: in 13 career playoff games Kurt ranks first all-time in completion percentage, first in yards per attempt, and second in passer rating.

After he was named Most Valuable Player at the Ram's Super Bowl victory in 1999, reporter Mike Tirico from the ABC told Kurt: "First things first, tell me about the final touchdown pass to Isaac [Bruce]."

Kurt replied: "Well, first things first, I've got to thank my Lord and Savior up above – thank you, Jesus!"

It was the first time Kurt's faith emerged on the national stage. He has spoken about it openly many times since.

Kurt explains when he thanks Jesus after a match, it does not mean what people think it means.

"When you stand up and say, 'Thank you, Jesus,' [people] think you are saying, 'Thank you for being here, thank you for [helping us] win the game'," he tells CBN.

"But, in essence, it is a matter of thanking Him for the opportunity, thanking Him for being there in my life, for being the stronghold, for being the focus and the strength to accomplish all things, to accomplish anything, and to be where I am at.

"It is a constant thing in my life. It is not just for something specific He did on the football field to help us win; it is for everything that He has done in my life up to that point and for everything He will continue to do in my life from here until eternity."

Kurt explains he was raised in the church, with faith and God was always a part of his life. But he says initially "it was just kind of there on Sunday and when I was going through a tough time".

"It wasn't the reason I lived my life," he says. "[God] wasn't the focus of everything I did. I really didn't know the extent that I needed to give my life to Him like I do now."

According to his website, Kurt accepted Jesus at about 25 years old.

"My arena league teammates, a pastor friend, and my future wife [Brenda Warner, also a devout Christian] were constantly asking questions about my beliefs, and I began to question where I was and whether I had really put my complete faith in God," he says.

"Their questions led me to the truth – that faith is about a relationship, and it's about Jesus. Up to that point, I had never really considered that. I struggled for so long and so many things went against me. I was swimming upstream."

Kurt and Brenda Warner
Kurt and Brenda Warner pose with his bust as Kurt is inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on August 5, 2017 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

"Their questions led me to the truth – that faith is about a relationship, and it's about Jesus. Up to that point, I had never really considered that. I struggled for so long and so many things went against me. I was swimming upstream."

Around that time, in 1996, an incident happened that changed the way Kurt looked at life. A tornado touched down in Arkansas, killing Brenda's parents.

"That situation showed me that you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow," Kurt says.

"You have to live for today and for this moment. It was at that point that I realized the Lord needed to be at the center of my life. I couldn't wait until tomorrow or next year. It needed to be right now.

"When I finally gave my life over to God, it was then the joy and happiness came into my life.

"Now I realize my role here on earth is not to throw touchdown passes and win football games. I realize my goal is to win as many people to Jesus as possible."

Since his retirement, Kurt has been working as a TV football analyst and philanthropist. He and Brenda have seven children.

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