For all the wonders Curt Warner performed for the Seahawks on the field, what he and his wife have done since are true miracles.
In Sunday’s News Tribune, for his final story after more than 20 years at the paper, my departing colleague Dave Boling writes Warner’s incredible story.
Not the one of Warner being a two-time All-American at Penn State. Not of him being Seattle’s third-overall pick in the 1983 draft, or fighting through a major knee reconstruction early in his NFL career and earning three Pro Bowl selections until the popular, resilient running back left the game following the Seahawks’ 1990 season.
Boling writes what Warner and his relentless wife Ana have been doing since then. And it’s almost unfathomable.
It’s loving. It’s unbelievably heart-wrenching, yet heart-warming.
“People want answers when someone such as Warner, a famed and beloved Seattle Seahawks star, withdraws from the public eye for more than 20 years,” Boling began in his piece, which is the final one of his 37 years in newspapers. “Warner and his wife, Ana, never knew what to tell people.
“If they detailed the around-the-clock challenges of raising their twin autistic sons, people might think they were complaining, or were ungrateful for lives that included so many gifts. They certainly didn’t want to give that impression.
“’People would asked me why I didn’t do things in public or make appearances,’ Curt said. ‘I just always knew that (Ana) needed my help here, at home, with the family. That was always my No. 1 priority.’”
I’ve known of Boling’s meeting with and writing about the Warners for years. As a parent of twins, I cannot imagine the crushing pain and stress brought upon them by the diagnoses and challenges with Austin and Christian, who were born on the lower end of the autistic spectrum.
They truly are an inspiration.
So is their story Boling wrote. It’s part of a larger project, the Warners’ book upon which Boling collaborated and is proposing to publishers who may or may not realize how huge this story will be, especially out here in the Pacific Northwest.
A burgeoning star whose rise got derailed by a major knee injury, then disappears from the public for 20 years. Seahawks fans didn’t know what became of Warner, beyond the car dealership he owned in the Portland suburb of Vancouver. He sold that in 2010.
“Curt would have been one of the all-time great NFL running backs if he hadn’t gotten hurt,” John Nordstrom, of the original Seahawks owners group, told Boling. “He was the Russell Wilson of his day, great in every regard – in the community, in the locker room, on the field. He had it all.”
It’s a credit Boling’s compassion and quality as a reporter and author that Warner approached him a couple years ago asking Boling to be a collaborator for his and his wife’s story.
As Boling’s story excerpt of that project eloquently shows, it’s a supreme credit to Curt and Ana Warner how loving and dedicated they are as parents and as a couple.
“Curt and Ana decided it now was time to reveal some of the details of their lives, hoping that their story might inspire others coping with extraordinary family challenges,” Boling writes in the story truncated from the Warners’ book. It appeared for the first time at thenewstribune.com on Friday.
“They have written a book, ‘Waiting for a Miracle,’ outlining their experiences. It’s currently being shopped to publishers.
“The book traces the dramatic twists taken in what appeared to be storybook lives: he the three-time Pro Bowl back for the Seattle Seahawks and two-time All-American at Penn State, and she the aspiring model from Brazil.”
Ana Warner told Boling: “We’ve got a better sense of peace about it now. We still worry, but we can talk about it now, and for so long, even that was painful.”
“It’s been a jagged road we’ve traveled,” Curt added. “But here we are.”
I could go on about how fabulous this story is.
Instead, please, if you read nothing else this Memorial Day weekend, read this, in its entirety.