After 12 seasons in the NFL, pass-rushing icon DeMarcus Ware has decided to hang 'em up. He made his announcement on Twitter. ...
... But only after what I'm told was a great deal of emotional soul-searching and physical evaluation.
Ware entered this 2017 offseason as an unrestricted free agent with hopes that he'd be weighing offers from the Denver Broncos (the team with which he won a Super Bowl) and the Dallas Cowboys (who picked him with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Troy.)
In the end, though, while a couple of teams dangled offers (Ware even took a very quiet visit to the LA Rams), the perfect fit wasn't there.
And at 34, Ware's body is no longer perfect, either.
As CHQ reported back in late November, Ware was being told by people in his circle to retire due to a back issue that negatively impacts his strength. This wasn't related to disc surgery, but was and is something else entirely.
Early Monday morning, as I was being told that Ware was "dealing with emotional decisions'' and that "there is no buzz in the building'' for him among Cowboys decision-makers, a person close to Ware told me:
"D-Ware knows he can't be D-Ware anymore.''
Said Jerry Jones in a statement:
“DeMarcus was everything we could have ever wanted in a player, a person and a representative of the Cowboys organization. He was one of the most dominant NFL players at his position in his era, and he was one of the most dynamic players in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. We wish nothing but the best for DeMarcus and his family, and we appreciate and respect his contributions to the NFL and to our team."
Ware established himself as a perennial All-Pro during his time in Dallas. But three years ago, owner Jerry Jones oversaw the painful decision to part with one of his favorite players. He became a key component to Denver's Super Bowl 50 World Championship. But he has struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons. He only appeared in 10 games in 2016, after fracturing his forearm and dealing with a back injury, contributing just four sacks.
Ware leaves the NFL as one of the all-time great pass-rushers. With 138.5 career sacks, he ranks eighth on the all-time list. In doing all that, in Denver, he also had to leave his kids behind in DFW, where they still reside and where he still has a home. Now he'll come back to Dallas and prepare for enshrinement in the Ring of Honor and in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But before that, Cowboys Nation can expect one more gesture.
I'm told by two sources that on Monday, shortly after Ware's announcement, that he received a phone call from Jerry Jones, suggesting that Ware re-sign with Dallas, one more time, for one more day, so he can "retire as a Cowboy.''
It will be a fitting way to close the circle, to reunite the family and to celebrate the brilliance of D-Ware.