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September 7, 2023 34 mins

Host Jon Frankel sits down with NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and his sons, up-and-coming players Kade & E.J. Warner, to discuss the significance of family, philanthropy, and football.

The Warners share their views on how the game of football has evolved over time, how Kurt stays fit after retiring and what his sons aim to achieve on and off the field.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
There were a select few moments where I did step
back and contemplate life beyond football.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
In the game of life, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and
nurturing meaningful connections with family can be among the most
formidable challenges we face.

Speaker 3 (00:18):
You definitely can feel the pressure, just that outside noise
and people always eye you down, trying to see always
he going to be as good as his dad.

Speaker 2 (00:25):
Yet, for many professional athletes, fostering both has proven to
be a triumphant recipe for success.

Speaker 4 (00:30):
As you look through my career, my dad's career, there's
a bunch of simularities, and so it's really cool for
me to be able to have somebody in my circle
that's been through a lot of things that I've been through.

Speaker 2 (00:40):
I'm John Frankel. For the past two decades, I've traveled
the globe covering some of the most impactful human interest
stories in sports. On this show, I'm sitting down with
some of the biggest families in the game, the legends,
current superstars, and the up and coming playmakers to understand
what's really making them teck. What can pro athlete families
teach a new generation about the importance of caring for

(01:02):
your health and finding success in the face of adversity. Together,
we'll hear stories of their remarkable comebacks, setbacks, and the
crucial role their family and self care played in their
paths to championship glory. This is part of the game.

(01:23):
Kurt Warner is the NFL's ultimate Sinderellaman. His story is
one of legend, a journeyman quarterback who wound up bagging
groceries in Cedar Falls, Iowa, hoping for a chance to
fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL after a
stint in the Arena Football League. He would get that
chance with the Saint Louis Rams when another player's injury

(01:43):
in nineteen ninety nine would open the door for Warner
to take over his quarterback I.

Speaker 1 (01:48):
Was surrounded by unbelievable talents. I was surrounded by a
coach that wanted to play aggressive football, which is the
way that I like to play, and so all of
those things just kind of lined up perfectly for me.

Speaker 2 (02:01):
And takeover he did, leading the Rams in their high
powered offense nicknamed the Greatest Show on Turf, to their
first Super Bowl title, and the.

Speaker 1 (02:12):
Rams have won the Super Bowl.

Speaker 2 (02:15):
Warner and Brenda Warner.

Speaker 1 (02:16):
And that that unbelievable story apps like this.

Speaker 2 (02:20):
Yes, Warner was named Super Bowl MVP. His career would
include two more trips to the Super Bowl, two League
MVP awards, a slew of passing records, and eventually induction
into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner's story is
so unbelievable it sounds like a movie, and in fact,
it was fifty tail on one read and the Rams

(02:43):
thirty four yard return. The twenty twenty one film titled
American Underdog chronicled his journey. But as much as the
sport has given him, for Kurt Warner, family always comes
first over football.

Speaker 1 (02:57):
Football, not even close.

Speaker 2 (02:59):
I mean, there's few things that you enjoy.

Speaker 1 (03:01):
And I mean, my career was great and I wanted
to accomplish so many different things, but there is nothing
better than watching your kids succeed in their passions.

Speaker 2 (03:11):
Two of his kids are following in their dad's legendary footsteps,
Cade Warner, who was a wide receiver and captain for
two major college teams, Nebraska and Kansas State, and who
recently participated in an NFL preseason camp with the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers. And then there's Elijah ej. Warner, who's the
starting quarterback for the Temple University Owls. Both credit their

(03:31):
dad and their mom, Brenda, for inspiring and pushing them
not only to play football, but to use it as
a platform to give back.

Speaker 4 (03:40):
I mean me, Elijah really really the best of the
parents we have, and to have this platform that we
get to play the game of football.

Speaker 3 (03:45):
You get to impact the world just because he played
the game of football, and I think as a family,
I think it's brought us closer together.

Speaker 2 (03:52):
Before I turned to the boys and bring them in.
Often you hear from athletes it was my dream. I
attained my dream by making it to the pros. When
did you dream about being a pro football player?

Speaker 1 (04:04):
I think pro athlete more so than football player was
at an earlier stage.

Speaker 2 (04:09):
I just remember.

Speaker 1 (04:10):
It was a third or fourth grade and we did
a project on what you want to be when you
get older. For me, as far back as I can remember,
I wanted to be a professional athlete. And it didn't
really matter because I played every sport, whatever season it
was football, basketball, baseball, soccer, I played anything, but I
knew that's what I wanted to do. I didn't know
until a little bit later. You know that it was

(04:31):
going to be football, or that I was gravitating more
towards football. But I knew from a young age that
I wanted to be a professional athlete.

Speaker 2 (04:38):
Kate, I know for sure you played a bunch of
sports when you were in high school, right, You played basketball,
you ran track and field, EJ. I assumed there was
more than football to your high school career. Were you
naturally draw into football? Was that an automatic in the house? Yeah?

Speaker 4 (04:55):
Growing up, it was always football. That's kind of my
first memory is just growing up playing football, maybe not
wanting to at first, but growing to love it. And
then when we got older and older, my dad mete
us play more than one sport. And I think that
the more you can play different sports, the mark can
help you with football.

Speaker 2 (05:09):
And you said that at first you didn't want to.
Does that mean you were afraid of playing football? Forced? Forced? Yeah?

Speaker 4 (05:17):
Yeah, force with a capital F maybe, but no, it
was just and it wasn't even like I was It
was forced like that, but it was just the you know,
I felt like I should play.

Speaker 2 (05:25):
Let's make sure that the listener understands was the force
with a capital AFT and a little bit of sarcasm
or was.

Speaker 4 (05:31):
That it was a little bit of sarcasm.

Speaker 2 (05:34):
But you were serious. You wanted the kids to play football.

Speaker 1 (05:37):
Yeah, I wanted them to experience athletics, knowing what it
had given to me. I always thought it was important
to make sure that the kids were involved in something,
were connected to a team, had chances to be involved
in that kind of community for the things that they
would learn. And they were both obviously great athletes from
a young age as well, so it wasn't much of
a stretch. I mean, they loved playing any game, anything

(06:00):
that we would do in the backyard. They loved athletics
in general.

Speaker 2 (06:05):
EJ. Were you drawn to being a quarterback because of
your dad? Not necessarily.

Speaker 3 (06:11):
I remember starting out as a running back and just
really fall in love with the game of football, and
I think as I got older, I began to realize
that the jeanes my dad passed down to me weren't
the most gifted athletically, so I realized that quarterback would
be my best position that I would have to play
moving forward if I wanted to play at the next level.
I wanted to continue to play the game, but once
I got into it and really got to just be
with my dad all the time and just talk that

(06:32):
quarterback position. I think I really fell in love with
on the field of quarterback, but also off the field
with the x's and o is the mental side of
the game.

Speaker 2 (06:39):
If only this wasn't a podcast and our listeners could
have seen your dad's face when you said he wasn't
the most gifted athletically.

Speaker 1 (06:47):
I mean, you know, my kids don't remember me when
I was actually an athlete. They only remember me as
the old guy that was slow and couldn't do anything athletically,
So that's how they see dad.

Speaker 2 (06:58):
Now you can now answer the question about whether your
just natural talents came out and sort of took you
to being a wide receiver as opposed to being a quarterback,
or did you try to be a quarterback like your dad,
or did you stay away from it because you just
didn't want to be compared to your dad.

Speaker 4 (07:18):
No, I don't ever remember like staying away from it,
but I just never was flat out good at it.
My freshman year of high school, I was started play
wide receiver when my dad was able to coach me
a little bit more, and so I was never a
wide receiver. Through and through, I played almost every position
on the field when I was really young, besides quarterback.
Then they always tried me out, pull me back, have
me throw a couple of throws, and then push me
back to whatever position I was at after they saw

(07:39):
the atrocity that was my deep throw.

Speaker 1 (07:41):
So John, I don't ever remember him having a desire
to ever throw the football, but I do remember that
when we showed up the first practice, you could tell
they were just kind of like, Hey, we got Kurt
Warner's son here, We're going to have our quarterback. And
then I swear Kid would just sabotage it, and you
know the disappointment on the coe his faces, But it
was just Cade's way of going, I am not playing quarterback.

(08:04):
I'm gonna go do what I want to do. And
I think what he wanted to do was be an athlete,
you know, go out there and make plays, get the
ball in his hands, and that's where he always thrived.

Speaker 2 (08:14):
Since we're on the topic of being a Warner, did
you guys feel the pressure did you feel like EJ
particularly playing the same position. Oh, I'm a Warner. People
are going to expect big things.

Speaker 3 (08:26):
Yeah, I think you definitely could feel the pressure just
that outside noise and people always eyeing you down trying
to see, ah, is he going to be as good
as his dad? But I think I expect more out
of myself than anyone else does out of me. So
even if they have all these high expectations, I really
just believe in myself and know what I can do
as a player as opposed to what my dad did.

Speaker 4 (08:44):
I think that was a really good answer, you, Jay,
But no, I mean for me, it was just I
didn't really care what people really thought too much, and
I was growing up and so I never felt that
external pressure. But I was also never a quarterback and
it was earlier on, so it was a bunch of
different things. I didn't feel that pressure as much as
I'm sure Elijah has. But as you said, you know,
pressure to make diamonds, right, Ejay?

Speaker 2 (09:02):
Oh yeah. Being the older sibling, Kaid wasn't able to
be coached by his dad until middle school because he
was still playing for the Cardinals. Ej was more fortunate
since he began playing once his dad was retired, and
having an NFL Superstar signal caller as a father is

(09:22):
a heck of a cheat code for a kid learning
to play quarterback.

Speaker 4 (09:28):
My dad was coaching him in flag football, running NFL
Pro style concepts and four on four with the flags
that pop off against other teams that were just trying
to figure it out. For me, my dad was playing
retired when I was later on, so my dad coached me.
I think eighth grade was early this year when I
was full back, and then a little bit in high school,
and then much more in high school later on. So
for me, when he finally got to coach me and

(09:49):
really sit down with me and teach me the game,
I absorbed everything I could.

Speaker 3 (09:53):
Yeah, I remember, like you're saying, when we first started
playing fag football, that that first day when he was
teaching me the playbook and I'm just a little first
grader at the time, second grader, just looking at all
these different plays, saying, we really have to learn all
of these routes, and just like how complicated it was
at that time, and just over the years, how much
more simplified it got for me, and how much more
I started to understand it and why we ran these
things and how they all connected together. But yeah, just

(10:15):
as that scared little young kid when I first learned
from my dad the playbook that he ran it was
pretty tough or.

Speaker 1 (10:21):
Looking over the middle touchdown, I'm on Anderson Junior five
yard touchdown pass for Warder.

Speaker 2 (10:27):
Mastering the playbook was one of the keys to Kurt
Warner's success, but it still took years to break through.
His first attempt to make it in the NFL was
in nineteen ninety four. An undrafted free agent, he tried
to earn a spot as a backup to Brett Farv
with the Green Bay Packers, but was released before the
season began. He returned to Iowa, where he bagged groceries

(10:48):
at a local supermarket to make ends meet. From there,
he spent two prolific seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers of
the Arena Football League, then played on the NFL's European
circuit to him joining the Saint Louis Rams. During the
nineteen ninety nine preseason, starter Trent Green went down with
a season ending knee injury. Kurt Warner, just a few

(11:09):
years removed from bagging groceries and playing Arena league football,
was now a starting NFL quarterback. That season, he threw
for over forty three hundred yards, forty one touchdowns, and
led the Rams to a Super Bowl Championship. He also
won the first of his two NFL MVP Awards. Warner's

(11:30):
patience and preparation paid off in spades. Kurt, I'm going
to ask you about this, which is clearly your story
has resonated with people inside of football and outside of football,
especially thanks to the big screen and the film American Underdog.
But you have the rags to riches football story, right.
Everybody remembers the packing the groceries and working in the

(11:52):
grocery store as you tried to make your way in
professional football. But one of the things that really stands
out is that when you finally make it to the
and have a solid position on a team, but you're
a backup and Trent Green goes down and you come
in and you take the reins and that's it. It's
off to the races. Is that because you were so

(12:12):
well prepared, did you know the playbook that well?

Speaker 1 (12:15):
First of all, I think it was always one of
my strengths, the ability to understand what was going on,
to process information. But I was also a student of
the game. So when I was a backup to Trent Green,
I would ask him questions at nauseum and I think
that was a big part of it, is just always
trying to understand it and make it make sense to
me and figure out how it fit into my mindset.

(12:37):
So when I did get that opportunity, I could be successful.
But you know, I think preparation is always a part
of it. I don't think you're ever successful doing anything
if you're not prepared. And so I think it was
a perfect storm when I got together with the rams Is.
We played in a system that fit my skill set.
I was surrounded by unbelievable talent. I was surrounded by

(12:59):
a coach that wanted to play aggressive football, which is
the way that I like to play, and so all
of those things just kind of lined up perfectly for me.
So when my opportunity did come, all those things played
out to allow me to have success very early.

Speaker 2 (13:13):
Kaiti and Eja, you were both particularly young when your
dad was still playing football. I'm curious what you remember.
But I'm also curious since so much has been made
about the bagging groceries, has too much been made about
that over the years, or was that a valuable lesson
that your dad constantly brought up to you as you

(13:33):
were growing.

Speaker 3 (13:34):
Up definitely important because it can relate to any aspect
of life. I mean, it obviously involves sports in this
situation where my dad went on to then become an
NFL quarterback, but I think anybody in any situation can
kind of take that to heart and get a message
and be inspired by that story, whether you're raising kids,
whether you're at work, just always trying to do your best,
no matter what situation you're in, always trying to be
prepared for that next level. He has a good quote

(13:56):
where you have to do what you have to do
until you get to do what you want to do,
And I think that was just important for him to
teach us those lessons that it's not always going to
be easy. I think just showing us that if you
put in the work and you trust yourself and you
do what you're supposed to do, that the good things
will come.

Speaker 2 (14:10):
Kid. As it specifically relates to your career, I mean
your dad's career and yours, they mirror each other in
a lot of ways, and that he came out of
high school, didn't have a big offer from a big school,
ends up at the University of Northern Iowa. You come
out of Arizona as a highly touted high school football player,
but you don't have a scholarship offer, and so I imagine

(14:31):
those lessons and knowing what your dad went through really
meant a lot to you. Yeah, they one hundred percent.

Speaker 4 (14:38):
It's really cool for me to be able to have
somebody in my circle that's been through a lot of
the things that I've been through. And I'm so blessed
to be able to have a mother and a father
and an older brother and a whole family that's gone
through so much adversity to be able to fall back
on whenever I feel like I'm going through some tough kurt.

Speaker 2 (14:54):
When Cad didn't get drafted, was there a conversation between
the two of you about was his head down? Was
he thinking, oh gosh, now what do I do?

Speaker 1 (15:04):
I think those conversations had been had all through his journey.
It's easy to kind of look at that and go, well,
I'm not getting what I'm supposed to have. I'm not
going to be able to accomplish what i want to accomplish.
But similar to my situation in the grocery store, Okay,
just put his head down and he worked, and I
think there was part of that that said, hey, my
dad had some things that didn't go his direction. It

(15:25):
doesn't define where you have to end up at the
end of the day. EJ was in a very similar situation.
So for an injury when he was a junior, you know,
missing his junior year and then playing his senior year,
and you know, some things happened in the recruiting process
and not probably as highly touted as as he should
have been because of the player that he was. And
so you know, he takes the opportunity at Temple, becomes

(15:47):
the starter and then becomes a you know, true freshman
All American order, takes.

Speaker 2 (15:51):
A shot toward the ut zone, and what a catch.

Speaker 1 (15:55):
I often say everybody has their supermarket moment. Everybody has
that moment where where their dream gets sidetracked a little
bit and they find themselves on a different path and
they wonder what the future has in store for them,
and they've got to figure out in that moment, where
am I going to go. I think that's a part
of so many different journeys. And when these two guys,

(16:16):
when it's all said and done, no matter what they
do and have success doing, I think they'll look back
at those different parts of their journey up to this
point and go.

Speaker 2 (16:23):
You know, that was a defining moment for me. When
we return. Kurt Warner on the worry he faces as
he watches his kids play football.

Speaker 1 (16:34):
When I was playing, I never once stepped on a
field and never thought about being injured or thought about
getting hit.

Speaker 2 (16:41):
That was just a part of the game.

Speaker 1 (16:43):
But when you step and you watch from afar, and
you watch as a loved one, or as a father
or as a mother, that is something that goes through
your mind quite often because you do understand the physicality
of this game.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
Part of the game will be right back and now
back to part of the game. Most dads understandably feel
a certain degree of pride in having their children following
their professional footsteps. For a pro football player, it's a

(17:17):
bit more complicated. While it could be a richly rewarding career,
it also comes with many downsides, including the physical toll
the game takes on the body. Kurt Warner understands the
inevitability of injury in football all too well. He got
his big break replacing another player who suffered an injury.
Kurt also suffered multiple concussions, broken fingers, and knee injuries

(17:41):
during his twelve year career.

Speaker 1 (17:43):
It's funny because you know, when I was playing, I
would always hear how my wife saw the game. What
she would always tell me is that when I'm watching
you play, I can't just sit back like a fan
and experience the joy of you throwing a good pass.
I'm always watching the see do you get hit? And
if you get hit, do you get up? And I
never really understood that when I had the helmet on,

(18:05):
because it's like, well, don't worry about that stuff. Just
watch and enjoy. You know, this is what I love
to do. Don't worry about it from that perspective. And
then you become a father and you start watching your
kids play, and I started to realize I watch it
the same way. Kate makes a great play and the
first thing I think is, okay, so getting up?

Speaker 2 (18:23):
Is he injured? Okay?

Speaker 1 (18:24):
Once he gets up, then you start to celebrate the moment.
The same thing with EJ. As I watch ball leaves
his hand and there's a split second where I'm just
watching him, Okay, did that defensive end come off the
edge and did he hit him? Then I watch the
completion and then I you know, want to see in
pen and make sure that EJ's up getting back into
the huddle. When I was playing, I never once stepped
on a field and never thought about getting hit. But

(18:46):
when you step and you watch as a loved one,
or as a father or a mother, that is something
that goes through your mind quite often, because you do
understand the physicality of this game.

Speaker 2 (18:56):
As you've probably all heard, and one NFL former NFL
player told me, this is not a contact sport football,
It's a collision sport.

Speaker 1 (19:06):
You know.

Speaker 2 (19:06):
That came to light probably more than ever beyond the
world of football, when mar Hamlin went down this year
this past season, the defensive back for the Buffalo Bills
on national television, and all of a sudden it became
part of the dialogue for an entire nation about how
dangerous football is. Kurt, when you played, you had a teammate.

(19:29):
You threw a ball, Dan Kwam Bolden. He takes a
big hit. What taken Bolden?

Speaker 1 (19:36):
Shaken up on the play.

Speaker 2 (19:37):
That's not good. Boy.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
You don't want to see this late. You don't ever
see this, but late in the game, in this circumstances.

Speaker 2 (19:43):
This is a coach's worst nightmare, right now, and there
was talk at the time that that impacted you enough
that you even considered retirement. Do I have that correct?

Speaker 1 (19:54):
You do have that correct. There is a level when
we play that we feel we're in. You feel like
it's not going to happen to you. But then anytime
it does, whether it's you suffering an injury or to
your point, John, when I, you know, was kind of
a part of one of my teammates suffering traumatic injury.

(20:16):
That's what kind of stops you in your tracks and
it makes you go, Okay, we're not invincible, and it
becomes more personal. It's a part of the process to
have to work through those things, you know, and understand
the risks that go into it, and understand the rewards
or the love for the sport and trying it to
juggle all of that and manage all of that. And

(20:38):
you know, I look back now and tell people I
would do it all over again. You know, I loved
every minute of it, but there were a select few
moments where I did step back, and ankus situation was
one of those. As I suffered a head injury, you know,
in my last year of playing. That was another time
as I knew the end was getting closer where you
start to contemplate life beyond football. But it's a hard

(21:03):
thing to do, especially when you're young and you've got
this dream. I think for a big period of time
we push that away, We push it away, and you know,
quite frankly, you have to to a degree if you're
going to go out and play this game, you've got
to be able to kind of push that to the side.
But I hope at the same time you can always
be realistic with where you're at. For me, it was
stepping away at the right time, so you know, before

(21:26):
any of those things happened, I could get to do
what I'm doing now, coach my boys in high school football,
or watch them play, or you know, run around with
my grandkids and not have you know, these lingering injuries
that slow me down and affect me. So it's a
tough balance, but without question, you have to have that
balance when you're playing the game.

Speaker 2 (21:45):
As you made the transition from professional athlete into being
a father and a grandfather and such. How different is
your exercise routine today? How closely do you watch your
diet and your nutrition?

Speaker 1 (21:58):
You know, my exercise it's part of again, I think
being a pro athlete is that exercise and working out
becomes just part of the fabric. It's part of who
you are. And so I still work out five six
days a week, not of course, as intense as as
these guys do, now, you know, not doing the same
kinds of power lifts and you know, heavy weights that

(22:18):
those guys are doing. But you know, to me, it
was important that I felt like I wanted to stay
in good shape. I wanted to be healthy, I wanted
to be able to be active. But more importantly, I
just felt like it was important to do something every
day and not maybe let a long career catch up
to me when you know, I started to kind of
just sit on the couch and not do anything. And
so the diet part of it not quite so much

(22:41):
yet I tell people all the time I work out
so I can eat what I want, because I just
think there's a mental side to all of this as well,
you know, staying healthy, and part of the mental process
is being able to enjoy life. And so one of
the things I enjoy is eating different foods or having
a pizza when I want, or have a dessert when
I go out, And so I don't think I eat crazy.

(23:01):
You know, I don't just eat whatever all the time,
but it's important. It's just not the most important thing
for me.

Speaker 2 (23:08):
Kate and EJ, what sort of lessons did you pick
up from your dad in staying healthy and how do
you think things have changed for today's athletes.

Speaker 4 (23:16):
Growing up, I always sell my dad working out, and
even if we were on a family vacation somewhere, he
was finding a band or a dumbbell or a stairs
to run on. So I think that played a lot
in what I do now is just always trying to
do something, always trying to get better, always trying to
improve your conditioning, just do something to stay active so
you feel a little bit better about your physical self
at the moment.

Speaker 2 (23:37):
And so I learned a lot about that.

Speaker 4 (23:39):
I learned absolutely nothing about dieting from him, but that
on that side of the spectrum, I learned a lot.

Speaker 1 (23:43):
Truth and John, that is probably the biggest difference I
see now in the game is that you know, so
many of the athletes now have their own diet plans,
or they have a dietrician or even in the facility.
And when kid's at Nebraska or a kay State, you know,
after the work out. They've got balanced meals set up
for them, which was never really a part of things

(24:05):
when I played. It just wasn't a part of the
fabric of things where now I think these guys have
such an advantage, not just because of where they're at
and you know what has provided for him, but the
mindset to go. Man, this helps me a perform better,
but it also helps to prolong the ability to perform

(24:25):
at that level.

Speaker 2 (24:26):
I want to point out it's quite obvious to you
and maybe to a lot of people who are listening
to us, that your dad had a Hall of Fame career.
He is in the NFL's Hall of Fame. I don't
know if you think about him like that, as a
Hall of Fame quarterback or you just think of him
as dad.

Speaker 3 (24:44):
Yeah, I would say it's definitely more so Dad and
the way he raised us is trying to not even
things about football, right, The life is bigger than the game,
so I think always going to them for support, just
like anybody would with their dad, and different scenarios off
the field. But then, of course he knows a little
bit more about the game of football than most other
dads do, so of course leaning on him for those
different things and trying to learn as much as I
can from him, but always Dad first in those scenarios,

(25:06):
and I know that I feel safe going to him
with anything I need and especially football questions, can get
some valuable stuff out of him.

Speaker 2 (25:12):
Knowing that your dad is a Hall of Famer and
you try and carve out your own legacy in football.
What are some of the goals you've set for yourself? EJ.

Speaker 3 (25:22):
Of course, I want to play in the league for
as long as possible. I mean, I love the game
so much and for as long as I can. I
want to play at a high level and hopefully get
to the next level and hopefully have accessful college career
and win a lot of games with my teammates, but
not really setting too much precedent on specific things I
need to hit. I'm not trying to be as good
as my dad or anything specific like that, just really
trying to be the best version of myself and wherever

(25:45):
that takes me, it takes me.

Speaker 4 (25:46):
Yeah, I mean, I think the interesting part of my
goals are that a lot of them aren't really football related.

Speaker 2 (25:51):
So and what I mean by that is football.

Speaker 4 (25:54):
I think is such a fantastic sport because it gives
you such a huge foundation to do so many incredible things.
And so, like a huge goal of mine is growing up,
every single year, my dad and mom would take all
of us kids and tend make a wish families to
Disney World every single year and just try to give
them the week of their life. And I think that
is probably my number one goal in life, is to
be able to have the foundation that football is able

(26:16):
to give me, to be on that platform to impact
so many people like that. So that's one of my
huge goals obviously, Like this year, I want to make
the active roster, and I want to do so many
things in that regard. But I have a lot of
goals that I can't get there without football, but they're
not exactly football goals.

Speaker 2 (26:39):
Giving back is a Warner family creedom. During his playing days,
Curtin Brenda would take their kids out to dinner and
pick out a table at random and pay for that
group's dinner. Those gestures, along with the work he does now,
help teach the Warner kids to understand the impact they
can have on the lives of those who are not
as fortunate. Along with the first thing's first foundation, Kurt

(27:02):
and Brenda founded Treasure House Phoenix, an active living community
for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. That project
was inspired by their oldest child, Zachary.

Speaker 1 (27:19):
Treasure House is kind of our latest foundation in our
Passion project, which it's a community living facility for young
adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So those that are
listening that may not have seen the movie or may
not know our story. Our oldest son, Zachary, suffered a
traumatic brain injury when he was four months old, and
you know, he's overcome the odds in so many different ways,

(27:40):
but one of the challenges is living independently. So we
want all of our kids to have that full life
and to be able to chase their passions and experience
what community is all about. But zach can't do it
in you know, an individual fashion that he needs those
to kind of oversee and be there with him all
the time. So Treasure House, we've built one here in Phoenix,

(28:03):
and our goal is to build those across the country
and you know, maybe one day across the world, so
that you know, those families that have children with disabilities
can live that full life and experience all the things
that all of other kids experience.

Speaker 2 (28:18):
EJ and Kaid's love for their father is obvious, as
is their respect for what he's accomplished in life, on
and off the field. But that doesn't mean they'll pass
up a chance to rib their old man, because while
he may be a Hall of Famer to the rest
of us, to them, he's just Dad. We started this
conversation with EJ talking about your athletic ability or lack thereof,

(28:45):
just to have a little bit of fun with this.
EJ and Kaid, you have any idea how many rushing
yards your dad had as an NFL quarterback over the
length of his career.

Speaker 4 (28:55):
I would say, what do you think, Elijah, what would
you say? I would say a low two hundreds.

Speaker 2 (29:00):
I can't be over three hundred. So I looked up
a list of the NFL career passing yards leaders, of
which your dad is on at a thirty two thousand plus.
I have that right, Kurt, Yes, all right, So in
rushing yards your dad had drum roll plays two hundred
eighty six yards rushing. Wow. Now there's only three people

(29:23):
who have fewer rushing yards as quarterbacks who are on
that list. One is Dan Marino. Okay, who had the
lowest number of yards fewest number of yards eighty seven yards,
So you're in good company with Dan Marino. Wow, Steve
de Bergh just two hundred rushing yards over the course
of his career and it was a long career. But
then here's an interesting twist. Somebody else who's in this

(29:45):
category also played for the Saint Louis football team then
known as the Cardinals, So he touches both lines that
your dad touched right playing in Saint Louis, but as
a Cardinal undred and seven yards for Jim Hart. There
you go. But Kurt, two hundred and eighty six rushing
yards and three tds. I should not ignore the three

(30:08):
touchdowns in your career. What was his longest touchdown run? Oh,
I don't know that you've trumped me. That's not fair.
It can't be over a yard and a half. It
is definitely over a yard and a half. Yeah, it's
not much more than that. No, no long touchdown runs
in my career.

Speaker 1 (30:25):
But again, see, my job was not to run the football.
John wasn't what I was supposed to do, So you
can't use that against me.

Speaker 2 (30:33):
Kurt, I would never hold it against you because you
have two hundred and eighty six more rushing yards than
I do in the NFL and a heck of a
lot more passing yards. So I certainly do not. And
by the way, I mean, like when you think about
what your dad has done. I don't know if you
know all of his statistics and accomplishments in the company
that he keeps, but he's one of only four quarterbacks

(30:54):
to have started the Super Bowl with two different teams.
Did you guys know that? Oh? He tells us every.

Speaker 4 (31:00):
Oh no, I'm kidding, I'm kidding, But yeah, we've heard
that one.

Speaker 2 (31:04):
You've heard that one along with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
and Craig Morton, another guy from before your time. But
that's also pretty darn good company. Guys, you've been so good.
But before you go, I would like you each to
boil it down for me in your own way. What
is the heart of the game to you?

Speaker 1 (31:22):
The heart of the game for me, it's competition. That's
what I think the beauty of football is. It's not
about one player. You've got to depend on the other
fifty two guys to do their job if you're going
to be successful and then the other thing is, you know,
we talked earlier about football being a physical game. I
never really looked at football as a physical game. What
I always loved about football was the mental side of

(31:44):
things is I don't believe, especially at the quarterback positions,
there's a more complicated, intricate game than the game of football.
You know, knowing where different guys are, and all the
different defenses you can see, and all the different plays
that you run. And that, to me was the heart
of this game is that it's still as physical as
it is, it's still a thinking man's game.

Speaker 2 (32:07):
What is the heart of the game to you, EJ.

Speaker 3 (32:09):
I think that mental side where just how you can
out strategically play against these other teams and kind of
have a little chess match between the offense and defense.
It just was really special, and that mental side of
the game is what I've fallen in love with with it.
And I think that's definitely the big factor that that
not a lot of people look at when they watch
a game of football.

Speaker 2 (32:26):
What is the heart of the game to you?

Speaker 4 (32:27):
Cade the teamwork aspect of it all. I mean, there's
fifty three guys on a team and eleven guys out
there at a time, and twenty two out there that play,
And so I think that there is no greater sport
that demands more out of a greater group of guys
than football. You can't have one person take over an
entire game like basketball and a bunch of other sports.

Speaker 2 (32:47):
Football is the ultimate team sport to me. And then toughness.

Speaker 4 (32:51):
There's not a lot of sports that really get down
to the nitty gritty of it of getting back up
every time you get hit, or making that play getting
hit and getting back up. I think that those two
things are where drives football well and beyond any other.

Speaker 2 (33:03):
Sport for me, Football, philanthropy, family. The Warner boys take
all three very seriously, but they also know how to
enjoy themselves and celebrate each other. Kate and EJ. Warner's
football futures are yet to be written, but their father
will be there cheering them on every pass, every reception.

(33:26):
And if there's one thing we know, it's never to
count a Warner out. On the next episode of Heart
of the Game, What does it take to do the
right thing even when it's hard, Well, here some of
the wisdom US soccer legend John Harks is passing down
to his son, major League soccer star Ian Harks.

Speaker 5 (33:45):
You can never be wrong doing the right thing, and
so we always said keep your head even keeled through
that process. We are always just trying to find a
balance as best as we could to prepare them for
what was coming.

Speaker 2 (33:58):
Part of the Game is a production of Ruby Studio
from iHeartMedia. Our show is hosted by me John Frankel.
Our executive producer is Matt Romano, our EP of Post
Production is Matt Stillo, Our supervising producer is Nikiah Swinton,
and our writer and researcher is Mike Avo. Thanks for listening.
We'll see you next time.
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