The Cardinals have called a press conference for Friday, at which Kurt Warner is expected to announce his retirement at the age of 38.

It will be a big blow to a Cardinals team that has come to rely on Warner's brilliant passing, and the torch will likely be passed to unproven former first-round pick Matt Leinart.

Warner was one of the most amazing NFL stories when he first became a starter in St. Louis in 1999. An undrafted free agent, Warner led the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory that year, and got them back to the Big Show the following year before losing to the Patriots.

He faded quickly, though, and had just three dominant seasons in St. Louis before suffering through injury and ineffectiveness. He was released by the Rams after the 2003 season, signed with the Giants in 2004, and was benched at mid-season after Tom Coughlin decided to elevate No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning into a starter's role as a rookie.

But Warner's resurgence in Arizona will likely put him over the top when it comes to Hall of Fame recognition. He eventually became the starter again, and had three brilliant seasons from 2007-2009. He led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl last season, when he threw for 4,583 yards, 30 TDs and 14 INTs. And Warner led the Cardinals to a second consecutive NFC West title in 2009, throwing for 3,753 yards, 26 TDs and 14 INTs.

His epic performance in the Cardinals 51-45 overtime win over the Packers in the wild card round, in which he threw five touchdowns and no interceptions, was one of the best individual efforts in NFL history.

Warner and the Cardinals were beaten up the following week by the Saints, and he indicated then that he planned to make a quick decision about his future.

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That decision appears to be the one that will see him walk away from the game.

He will be missed. But not forgotten.

A Hall of Fame enshrinement isn't far off.