It has been less than a month since DeMarcus Ware has joined the Denver Broncos, and yet it has more than sunk in that he's playing for a new team after nine years with the Dallas Cowboys, even if it seemed for a long time that the Cowboys would be the only team he'd ever know in the NFL.
Ware told Shutdown Corner by phone on Friday that despite reports that the Cowboys tried to make a late push to keep him in Dallas, it really was past the point of no return by then.
"I did everything in my power [to stay]," Ware said. Obviously, it was not [as close] as some made it seem.
"I am just glad that Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells gave me an opportunity to play, and it was nine years with the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is always going to be home. But now it’s onto the next challenge in Denver."
Ware leaves Dallas, he says, will no ill will and only good feelings. He knows he'll return at some point and remember the best of his time there.
"[Dallas is] always going to be my NFL home," he said. "But at the end of the day, you have to make business decisions and you have to take the most ethical approach to prolonging your career. For Denver, that’s what it was. I now have a great opportunity to play with a great team, and life is all about transition, so this is the next chapter for me."
Picking a team happened rather quickly for Ware, even though he had more than a dozen teams inquire about his availability. After making his first and only free-agent visit to the Broncos, he signed for three years, $30 million with $20 million guaranteed. Ware said money played a factor in his decision but that joining a proven team was the biggest thing.
"I think the money part wasn’t the biggest factor to me, but it did play a part, of course," Ware said. "But the main thing is playing for a great team. That’s what makes you want to go someplace. That played the biggest role."
Ware took time out of his schedule this weekend, which included attending a four-day financial bootcamp of sorts at the NFL's Business Management & Entrepreneurial Program, to talk about that chapter in Denver. Some believe that Ware and Von Miller can form the nucleus of a tremendous defense for the Broncos, who went 13-3 last season and made the Super Bowl but were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks.
Ware and Miller have yet to talk, but they have gone back and forth with texting since they became teammates a few weeks back.
"I can't wait to work with him," Ware said. "He's a special talent."
But Miller also has had quite a few obstacles in his early career, including a few traffic-related run-ins, a six-game suspension prior to last season and a torn ACL he suffered in December. There are some who have worried that Miller, who just turned 25 in March, might be getting off track after such an amazing start to his career on the field.
Miller finds himself in a place where Ware once was years ago: a young, gifted pass rusher just waiting to cash in after a few years in the league. When asked what advice he would — or will — give Miller, Ware preached consistency in his life.
"I think the biggest thing with him is to be consistent<" Ware said. "You have to find something stable in your life, someone you can look up to. Whoever that is, or whatever you hope to do, make sure you put that number one and let that drive you. If it’s family, if it’s a teammate, you can find that passion and strive for it."
Ware said he hoped to be a big-brotherly type for Miller and a sounding board whenever he needed to discuss anything — football, family, other aspects of life.
"I can fill that [role] if he wants it," Ware said, "but he's a grown man, too."
- - - - - - -