The 49ers had Kurt Warner all to themselves yesterday -- busting out all the stops of an opulent, big-money free agent visit. But they let him leave town with no deal, and now they're just another interested party in the Warner sweepstakes.
There had been speculation as late as Sunday night that Warner would get cold feet, not make the trip, and re-sign with Arizona. But Warner did indeed arrive at the 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara to hold court with team brass. And thanks to the hard-blogging stakers-out at The Chronicle, the Mercury News, and the Press Democrat, you could Internet-stalk Warner's whereabouts to within 30 minutes of accuracy.
He arrived in a private jet in San Jose at 11:30 a.m. He was shuttled via black SUV limousine to the team complex in Santa Clara, probably discussed at length with Coach Singletary his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and then escorted to Stanford for a team physical. The limo driver easily shook off reporters attempting to follow him. Warner then returned to Santa Clara from 4 to 6 p.m., presumably to enter negotiations but not reaching a deal. Warner's agent at one point clarified to the assembled local media stalkers that there would be no deal reached Monday anyway.
The Warner-to-49ers option is still alive, with general manager Scot McCloughan telling the Chronicle, "It's still a work in progress." But in reality, the 49ers just blew the best chance they'll ever have at Warner. They knew precisely what he would sign for, they had his undivided attention, and they did little more than exchange pleasantries. Now Warner is free to return to negotiations with the Cardinals. Or Jets, or Bears, or Vikings.
But the Niners have showed a little leg in this whole affair, clarifying their willingness to bring in a top-notch free agent quarterback. Maybe they won't sit tight with just Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. If they're in the Kurt Warner raffle, than they may in the Jay Cutler raffle as well. Or the Byron Leftwich raffle. Or even the Kerry Collins raffle.
Well, unless they watch any game films of Kerry Collins' Raider games.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who has spent several hours yesterday honing his Internet-stalking skills.