Thursday, April 22, 2004

Martz says Warner not on way out yet for Rams

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz said Wednesday that Kurt Warner's agent overreacted to a conversation he had with the quarterback, and emphasized there's still a chance the two-time MVP could stay with the team.

Martz characterized his conversation with Warner on Monday as a necessary "first step" in the process after he decided to go with Marc Bulger as his starting quarterback for next season. He said he had promised Warner and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, that he would inform him of the decision.

"He asked what his future was," Martz said. "I think from that point on it just kind of took on a life of its own."

Bartelstein said Tuesday his client expected to be released after June 1, and that he expected a lot of interest around the NFL in Warner.

On Wednesday, Bartelstein stood behind those words.

"I don't think I overreacted at all," Bartelstein said. "I represent the highest-rated quarterback in the history of the NFL, and he wants to play football, and the world doesn't wait for you."

Martz blamed himself for not making it clear to Warner, the NFL MVP in 1999 and 2001, that he still could be back. He said he expects Warner to participate in offseason workouts and minicamps.

"I'm afraid in my discussions with Kurt that I got carried away and led him to believe this was it," Martz said.

It's still likely that Warner will be released. But Martz reiterated that discussions on a long-term contract with Bulger could affect what happens.

RAVENS: Cornerback Corey Fuller was charged in Tallahassee, Fla., with hosting high-stakes card games at his house, the site of a shootout three months ago.

He was released on $5,000 bail Tuesday night after a search warrant was served at the house. The felony charge carries a possible five-year sentence and $5,000 fine.

State law allows card players to gamble up to $10 a hand, but a sheriff's spokesperson said some pots at Fuller's house were worth thousands of dollars, and games were held several times a week.

Authorities were unsure if the shooting was related to the games.

BRONCOS: Tight end Shannon Sharpe will return to the Broncos for at least one more season.

"Shannon called Coach (Mike) Shanahan a few days ago and confirmed that with him," team spokesman Jim Saccomano said.

Sharpe, 35, is the NFL's career leader in receptions (815) and yards (10,060) at his position, and last season he passed Jerry Smith for most touchdowns with 62.

SUMMERALL UPDATE: Broadcaster Pat Summerall was released Wednesday from a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital where he received a liver transplant earlier this month. The 73-year-old former NFL kicker will remain in the area for several weeks for outpatient care.

SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Brock Huard, released by Indianapolis last month, was signed by Seattle. He has played in six games, including four starts, and completed 58 of 104 passes for 667 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

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