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Warner Reports to Rams Camp

July 21, 2000

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) _ Kurt Warner is not interested in contract leverage.

The NFL MVP reported to the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams’ training camp Thursday, a day before the first full-squad workout, without a contract. The Rams were unable to come to an agreement on a long-term deal before camp, so Warner said he’d sign a tender offer for $358,000, the minimum for a veteran with two years’ experience, for now so that he could practice with the team.

Two-a-day workouts begin Friday morning.

``I don’t want to miss anything,″ Warner said. ``That’s why I came here, to practice from Day 1 and show my teammates that I wanted to be here.

``I will definitely sign something so I can be out there to practice.″

Warner threw 42 touchdown passes last year in his first season as a starter, after beginning training camp as an unknown third-stringer. Before last year, he had made his mark only in NFL Europe and Arena Football.

Warner said his agent, Mark Bartelstein, advised him not to report.

Why did he do it?

``Because of my love of the game and my responsibility to this team and my teammates and coaches outweighs everything else,″ Warner said. ``I definitely want to take care of my family, but I realize why I’m here. It’s something I felt I had to do.″

Warner said his decision had nothing to do with the state of negotiations.

``I hope we’re close; it seems like we’re close,″ he said. ``But you know when you’re negotiating some things that seem like they’re close are a long ways away.″

Warner said he wasn’t worried about the potential risks.

``I feel this is what I’m all about, and this is more important to me than everything else,″ Warner said. ``Hopefully it all gets all worked out, but this is more important to me right now.″

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