Kurt Warner (Jamie Squire/Getty)
Quarterback Kurt Warner always had the gait of a cowboy who had just dismounted a horse, but it was more pronounced last year. Looking back on 2008, Cardinals observers remember Warner walking around as if he was John Wayne.
Kurt Warner doesn't look as wobbly now, the result of hip surgery about two months ago. A torn labrum was repaired and Warner has looked smooth in recent practices.
Warner isn't able to pinpoint the exact time the hip was injured. It began to bother him at midseason and troubled him the rest of the year.
He wasn't listed on the injury report, the Cardinals said, because Warner participated fully in practice and it never threatened to keep him out of a game.
Warner enjoyed one of his finest seasons, and coach Ken Whisenhunt is hoping the repaired hip will make Warner even better.
Warner, however, isn't anticipating miracles. He will be 38 this summer, and the surgery, if anything, will make him feel better. It might not improve his mobility, he said.
"I don't know if it's going to make much of a difference at all," he said. "I may be able to move better, but for a guy my age, I'm not expecting to be able to break any records or get a lot faster than I've been in my career.
"Hopefully, it keeps me where I was last year, and if it gives me any advantage, moving wise, especially at this point when you're just trying to hold on...that will be a benefit."
Defensive end Kenny Iwebema was on the field May 1, the first day of the team's minicamp, when his position coach, Ron Aiken, told Iwebema he had to leave the field immediately.
"We found something on your chest X-ray that shouldn't be there," Aiken said.
The X-ray, taken as part of the pre-camp physical, showed a large spot that doctors feared could be an aneurysm. Further testes revealed a tumor the size of a baseball.
It wasn't cancerous, but the tumor was growing. An X-Ray taken just over a year earlier had revealed nothing.
A surgeon removed the mass this week, and the medical staff expects Iwebema to be ready to participate in training camp later this summer.
Doctors initially thought they might have to saw through the sternum and break ribs to remove the mass, which was between the sternum and heart.
But they were able to take it out through an incision in the side of Iwebema's chest. After deflating a lung, they took out the mass.
"I can't even remember the last time I got an X-ray on my chest," Iwebema told The Arizona Republic. "It's a blessing the NFL does this. It might have been too late. I'm really lucky."
--Wide receiver Anquan Boldin and defensive end Darnell Dockett are skipping the Cardinals' voluntary workouts as expected. Both want new contracts. Defensive end Bertrand Berry has been absent, too. Berry might have other commitments. He's a veteran who doesn't need the offseason work so his absence isn't a big deal. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and other teammates don't see the absences as a big deal.
"The guys who are here, we're just going to continue working," he said, "and we'll let that stuff take care of itself."
--Warner wishes former NFL quarterback Michael Vick good luck in making a comeback.
"I'm a guy for second chances," Warner said. "I know Mike Vick, and I think he's a great individual. But we all make mistakes. You can be forgiven for that and be given another opportunity."
--Trainer Tom Reed encouraged defensive end Kenny Iwebema to let the public know about his recent surgery to remove a tumor from his chest. Iwebema agreed. The tumor was benign and Iwebema should be ready for the season. The tumor was picked up on an X-ray taken and the club, no doubt, wanted to make the point that the X-rays are important.
--Don't reach too much into linebacker Karlos Dansby's recent proclamations that he expects a resolution to his contract situation soon. The club would like to sign Dansby, the franchise player, to a long-term deal. Dansby has played both sides of the issue in talking to reporters. At times, he's said he's looking forward to free agency in 2010. At other times, he's talked optimistically about re-signing with the team this summer.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was amazed during our first minicamp at how many completions there were and how few dropped balls and mental errors I saw. That's really rare. But they've got something really crisp going on." -- RB Jason Wright, a free agent from Cleveland, on his first impressions of his new team.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: LB Karlos Dansby: Tendered at $9.678M; signed tender March 4.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--G/C Scott Peters.
--TE Jerame Tuman.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)
--C Pat Ross (not tendered as ERFA) was the backup all year.
--CB Michael Adams: ERFA; terms unknown.
--DE Bertrand Berry: UFA; $1M/1 yr.
--OG Elton Brown: UFA; terms unknown.
--CB Ralph Brown: UFA; $745,000/1 yr.
--FB Tim Castille: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Karlos Dansby: Franchise FA: $9.678M/1 yr.
--P Ben Graham: UFA; terms unknown.
--LB Clark Haggans: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--TE Ben Patrick: ERFA; terms unknown.
--TE Leonard Pope: RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.
--QB Brian St. Pierre: UFA; $1M/1 yr.
--C Lyle Sendlein: ERFA; terms unknown.
--TE Stephen Spach: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Pago Togafau: ERFA; terms unknown.
--OT Elliot Vallejo: ERFA; terms unknown.
--QB Kurt Warner: UFA; $23M/2 yrs, $15M SB; 2009 cap: $11.5M.
--NT Gabe Watson: RFA; $1.545M/1 yr.
--TE Anthony Becht: FA Rams; $745,000/1 yr.
--TE Dominique Byrd: FA; terms unknown.
--FB Dan Kreider: FA; $745,000/1 yr.
--LS Mike Leach: FA Broncos; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--S Keith Lewis: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Bryant McFadden: UFA Steelers; $10M/2 yrs, $1M RB/5M guaranteed; 2009 cap: $5M.
--OT Oliver Ross: FA; terms unknown.
--RB Jason Wright: UFA Browns; $2M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.
--RB J.J. Arrington: UFA Broncos; $10M/4 yrs, guarantees unknown.
--LB Monty Beisel: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
--CB Eric Green: UFA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--LS Nathan Hodel (released/failed physical).
--CB Rod Hood (released).
--RB Edgerrin James (released).
--DE Travis LaBoy (released/failed physical).
--DE Antonio Smith: UFA Texans $35.5M/5 yrs, $12.5M guaranteed.
--FB Terrelle Smith: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.