Warren gains different view at Super Bowl
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 1, 2009 2:00 AM
TAMPA, Fla. -- Greg Warren already has one Super Bowl ring.
He would love to add another tonight when his Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
This year's final game will be the punctuation mark on a rollercoaster season for the Southern Wayne product.
In the Steelers' seventh game of the season Warren snapped the ball to punter Mitch Berger and raced down field to make a tackle. During the play, the University of North Carolina product's cleat got caught in an opponent's shoe and forced his knee to bend awkwardly.
Warren tore his ACL and damaged his PCL and transverse ligament.
"It was a little more severe than a typical ACL tear," Warren said on Friday. "I hurt the other ligaments as well, and all of those complicated the injury."
Warren had surgery the following morning.
In spite of his serious setback, the fourth-year pro is optimistic about his rehabilitation efforts.
"It's going better than I expected," Warren said. "I can walk on my injured leg now, and I really don't even know that it's hurt. The biggest thing I am trying to do is stick to the doctor's plan and not push it too hard."
Although the pain has subsided, the road to a full recovery is still a long one.
"I found out today that its still going to be another couple of months until I can start running," Warren said. "They don't want me to start snapping again for 4-5 months, which takes me up to the beginning of July."
Warren watched from the sidelines as the Steelers emerged as one of the AFC's top teams. The second seed in the AFC playoffs, Pittsburgh defeated San Diego and Baltimore on the road to Tampa.
"I get a little upset when people ask me if it's bitter sweet," said Warren. "Of course I would rather be on the field but when you look at it, I am still a part of this team and I am still a part of the Super Bowl."
Warren was also the long-snapper during the Steelers' 2006 Super Bowl run that ended when Pittsburgh topped Seattle 21-10 at Detroit's Ford Field. Although he will not be taking the field at Raymond James Stadium, tonight's game will be equally as special.
"I think this time it will sink in a little quicker," Warren said. "I didn't really think about it until the following regular season after we won in Detroit. I realized during that year just how big of an accomplishment winning a Super Bowl is."
Pittsburgh will turn to Texas Christian University graduate Jared Retkofsky to handle the long snapping duties against Arizona. Warren has helped the rookie adjust to the NFL since he was signed by the team following a mid-season tryout.
"The biggest thing I have tried to help Jared with is learning to block everything out," Warren said. "There isn't one set way to snap a ball, and every snapper does something just a little different from the next.
"I have told him the best thing he can do is remember what got him to this point... He wouldn't be here if he wasn't good enough."
Super Bowl XLIII kicks off tonight at 6:28 p.m.
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