Cowboys fans recognize his bright smile and adore his defensive dominance. What they may not know is that he almost never played soccer.
Dallas — His superpower: Confusion.
Fast and feared, DeMarcus Ware is one of America’s most dominant pass rushers. NFL history. His story might never have happened had it not been for a chance encounter.
Growing up in Auburn, Alabama, Ware had no interest in football.
“I played baseball,” Ware said. “I love baseball, and it was kind of my jam, right?”
Enter another Auburn Sports legend.
“I remember seeing Bo Jackson at the Boys and Girls Club,” Ware said. “[But] At the time, I didn’t know who Bo Jackson was. ”
Shortly thereafter, Ware made a concession and was selling soft drinks at the Auburn game where Jackson was honored. Ware said he saw the audience fall in love with Jackson, and witnessing the reception set his heart on fire.
“That’s why I started playing football,” Ware said. “Because I said, ‘If [Bo Jackson] You can move crowds like that, I can do the same.
Ware’s talent and tenacity inspired Cowboys fans.
Ware is Dallas’ all-time sack leader with 117 while wearing a star on his helmet.In 2008 alone, he won the NFC Defensive Player of the Year title with 20 of 117 appearances. (He finished second in the AP Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Pittsburgh’s James Harrison.)
“I knew I couldn’t stop,” Ware said.
Ware then departed Dallas for Denver, where he led the Broncos to the 2015 Super Bowl title.
Every moment in his 12 seasons in the NFL (nine in Dallas) culminated in one special moment earlier this year when he learned he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
It was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who informed Ware.
“I saw that I was wearing a gold jacket, but it hadn’t hit me yet,” recalls Ware. “And I was like, “What are you doing? Taking a step back, I was like, “Okay, you did it.” I mean, I’m kind of shaking right now… [but it was] Like “you did it”
Ware’s road to Canton was about more than pure athleticism. He had a knack for turning negatives into positives. The absence of a father in his life was his main motivation.
“Every Sunday, out of all the pain, something grew in me. All the pain,” Ware said. It was so many negative things, but whatever happened, every negative thing that happened, because I pushed it through, more positive things came out of it. I did.”
Ware, who is preparing to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, is living like a “dad” with a wonderfully modern family. Ware remarried several years ago. He and his wife, Angela, share a toddler they call “MJ,” and his children Marley and DeMarcus Jr. are growing up fast.
There are lessons I learned from my NFL career that I want to pass on to my posterity.
“The gratuitous thing is your effort,” Ware said. “You do your best in everything you do, and you’ll be fine.”
Ware was a disruptor and chaos creator, but now finds solace in solitude and proves himself on and off the field.
“A gold jacket… I mean, a dream come true,” he said. “You see all the hard work and sacrifices you made for your family. All the sacrifices you made, not for yourself, but for everyone else. Most of all for me.”
https://www.wfaa.com/article/sports/nfl/cowboys/demarcus-ware-dallas-cowboys-nfl-draft/287-1fac37b8-6be6-4ebf-b9a8-0fcbce7282ee 1:1 interview with WFAA’s Joe Trahan by DeMarcus Ware