DeMarcus Ware, the bane of opposing quarterbacks for 12 NFL seasons, has announced his retirement.
On Monday he posted a message on his Twitter page that cited his reasons for leaving as concern for “long-term health and quality of life outweigh the spark and passion to play that I once had.”
Ware is 34 years old and has dealt with back issues the past few years. He missed six games last season and needed to receive IVs to battle an infection in his back.
— Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones (@1EdTooTallJones) March 14, 2017
A NOTICEABLE TREND
There has been a common theme lately in the NFL, exacerbated by their CTE scandal, as players are choosing to retire early.
Calvin Johnson was considered one of best wide receivers in the league when he retired at age 30. Marshawn Lynch, who was one of the games most exciting players and popular figures, retired at only 29 years old.
B.J. Raji announced at 29 he would take a hiatus and not play during the 2016 season. After only six seasons in the NFL, he has not said whether he will play in the 2017 season.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who was the best player on an impressive offensive line for the New York Jets, retired at age 32, after 10 NFL seasons.
The list goes on. And with more and more coming out about how the NFL really feels about player safety, it’s fair to assume the list will grow…
While Ware is older than the players listed above. He said in his announcement that “opportunities still present themselves for me to play and I feel better than I have in years.”
As a free agent, Ware is not required to attend any mini camps or subscribe to a team’s preseason schedule. This allows him to get into peak fitness and go to a team that needs help from a play-maker.
He wouldn’t need to be an every-down player to be effective. Julius Peppers is 37 years old, and is still a dangerous weapon on the Carolina Panthers’ defensive line. Dwight Freeney is also 37 and was a big reason as to why the Atlanta Falcons had such a strong defense.
Could Ware return to the NFL and be an effective third-down pass rusher? Possibly. But already riddled with injuries and seeing as how players who have stepped away are loath to return, I think Ware will stay out while he’s ahead.
Return or not, he will be a clear case as a first-ballot Hall Of Fame inductee.
WARE IS A FUTURE HALL OF FAMER
Ware was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 and quickly became a major factor to their defense. He recorded 10+ sacks in seven of the nine seasons he spent in Dallas.
Much to the delight of New York Giants fans, he was picked up by the Denver Broncos as a free agent in 2014.
He played three seasons for Denver. Even though two were plagued by injuries, he was a team captain and a leader in the locker room. He also helped Denver’s ferocious defense to cap a wonderful 2015 season as Superbowl Champions.
” [@DeMarcusWare] is not only a Hall of Fame player, but a Hall of Fame teammate as well.” – Peyton Manning
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 14, 2017
Ware retires as the Cowboys all-time sacks leader with 117 and eighth NFL all-time in sacks with 138.5.