DeMarcus Ware just announced, via Twitter, that he is retiring from the NFL. A nine-time Pro Bowler, he is eighth all time in sacks with 138.5.
It's time .... pic.twitter.com/qlXpcNn12b— D-Ware (@DeMarcusWare) March 13, 2017
A native of Auburn, Alabama, Ware was raised by a single mother. As a teenager, he cut grass and stocked groceries to help cover some of the household expenses. After only two years of high school football, his lone D-I scholarship offer came from nearby Troy University.
Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, he led the team with eight sacks as a rookie in addition to piling up 58 total tackles, 14 of those for losses, and three forced fumbles. He again led the team in sacks with 11.5 during his second season, the most ever by a Cowboys linebacker.
By his third year in the NFL, he was widely recognized as the best outside linebacker in the league, a menace that could also wreak havoc as a defensive end. He had 14 sacks, the most by a Cowboy since since Jim Jeffcoat did it back in 1986, along with four forced fumbles and 80 tackles.
He collected 84 tackles, nine for loss, six forced fumbles, two passes defended and 20 sacks in 2008 en route to being named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. In 2009 and 2010, he finished with 11.0 and 15.5 sacks respectively, joining Mark Gastineau, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Jared Allen and Michael Strahan as the only players to ever lead the NFL in sacks on two separate occasions.
In the opening game of the next year, Ware sacked New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning twice, reaching 101.5 career sacks for his career. In only 113 games, he became the second-fastest player to reach 100 sacks behind only the incomparable Reggie White, who did so in 96 games. He went on to become the Cowboys' all-time leader in sacks.
The Cowboys released him in a salary cap move in 2014 and after signing with the Broncos, teaming with linebacker Von Miller and Denver's talented secondary to form one of the top defenses in the National Football League, Ware reached the crescendo of his profession with a victory in Super Bowl 50 last year.
Ware walks away with an impeccable resume as one of the greatest pass rushers of the modern generation and is unequivocally a future first ballot Hall of Famer.