Ware’s Hall-of-Fame career left incalculable impact on NFL

12-year veteran touched two franchises and two communities both on and off the field.

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Image Credit: Ryan Greene, 5280 Sports Network

DeMarcus Ware’s career is hard to summarize. It always feels like something is being left out.

How do you put into words the career of a player that made an impact like Ware and accomplished so much? He was a once in a generation talent and any amount of praise doesn’t totally do him justice.

One of the truly elite pass-rushers in pro football history, Ware was a bonafide quarterback killer throughout his 12 year career with Dallas and Denver. However, Ware’s impact was felt far beyond the field. His leadership in the locker room and commitment to community off-the-field set an example for husband teammates to follow.

Both on and off the field, Ware was revered for his character and poise, which is why nobody in the league has had anything even remotely bad to say about the former the former No. 11 pick out of Southern Methodist University since he announced his retirement Monday morning.
Ware’s combination of speed and strength made him a lot like Freddy Kruger. Quarterbacks saw him in their nightmares.

Eighth on the all-time sack list with 138.5 to his name, nine Pro Bowl selections and four first-team All-Pro selections, Ware will go down as one of the best pass-rushers to ever play the game and will likely wear a gold jacket in Canton sooner rather than later.

Albeit, Ware will be remembered for his Kruger-like brutality and swiftness in pass-rushing situations, he was so much more than just a sack specialist. For the better part of a decade, Ware was legitimately a threat in every phase of the game and one of the best defensive players in the league, regardless of position.

Ware’s ability to identify and stop the run made him an every down player and his ability to reach the quarterback in pass-rush situations made him the big bucks. With nearly 600 tackles in his nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware was a perennial superstar for America’s team.

Had Peyton Manning not signed with the Broncos prior to 2012, Ware leaving the Cowboys for the Mile High City in 2014 would likely be considered the highest profile free agent signing in franchise history.
Ware may have to settle with being the second most prominent signing in Broncos history, but his impact on the franchise was undeniable, especially during the Super Bowl 50 run.

Ware’s performance in the 2015 playoffs was one one of the best all-time, recording a sack in each of the Broncos three playoff victories. During the AFC Championship game against New England, Ware played one of the best games of his career, hitting Patriots QB Tom Brady seven times in the AFC title game alone.

Playing in the first Super Bowl of his career, Ware recorded two sacks on Cam Newton and played a huge role in helping others make plays throughout the game.

Along with making an impact on the field and in the locker room, Ware’s presence was invaluable to a team that has been loaded with talented young pass-rushers for the last three years. Serving as a mentor to players like Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett, Ware has been able to teach secrets of the trade to the young linebackers; but more importantly he has been able to teach them how to go about their business and how to be a true professional.

Ware’s leadership on this team will be missed greatly, but his impact will be felt long after he is rightfully enshrined in Canton. Ware’s time win Barrett, Ray and even Von Miller will assuredly impact the rest of their career.

Ware may have done the majority of his damage in “Jerry World”, but there has arguably never been a defensive player that made as much of an impact in the locker room. After being embarrassed by the Seahawks in Super Bowl 48, Ware was a large part of what this team needed to get over the hump.

The Broncos’ Ring-of-Fame typically only honors players that play a minimum of four years with the team, but if any player deserved the honor for less, it is DeMarcus Ware.