When word that DeMarcus Ware would not be donning a Cowboys jersey for the 2014 season broke, I can’t say that I was exactly surprised. Rumors had been swirling about Ware’s reluctance to take a pay cut and we in Cowboys Nation are painfully aware of the Cowboys salary cap woes. Nonetheless, when the deal was done regarding his future, I’ll admit to being sad to see Ware leave the Cowboys’ organization. The matter of Ware’s departure was made all the more painful for this Cowboys fan when I opened my email to find a message from the Denver Broncos Pro Shop with an orange jersey that had “Ware” emblazoned on the back. No, I’m not a closet Bronco fan, but having purchased memorabilia for my Denver lovin’ husband from the site makes me privy to their merchandise selection. Seeing Ware introduced as one of the Broncos free agency acquisitions was like rubbing salt in the proverbial wound.
As arguably the most recognizable players in the current batch of Cowboys besides Tony Romo and Jason Witten, Ware’s on the field honors and accolades while wearing the Star were considerable. He was a seven-time pro bowler, led the league in sacks in 2008 and 2010 and was voted to the NFL 2000 Decade Team.
His defining moment as a Cowboy, in my humble opinion, came in 2009 with six seconds remaining against the then-undefeated New Orleans Saints in the Super Dome. With the Saints trailing by seven and Ware playing hurt, he sacked Drew Brees, creating a game sealing fumble and giving the Cowboys a hard-fought December victory. Although #94 has been Dallas’ star defensive player for his nine years with the team, not all of his memorable moments in Big D happened on the gridiron.
The first lasting memory of Ware for me came while watching the HBO football reality series “Hard Knocks.” For those not familiar with the show, it chronicles the journey of one NFL team as the players and coaches prepare for the coming season. Although football is certainly the focus, there are also some personal portraits that are captured on camera. The 2008 edition featured the Cowboys and Ware’s signature moment came when he was singing “Heads and shoulders, knees and toes…” to his then toddler daughter, Marley via webcam. With all the egos in that year’s Cowboys crew…Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, etc., it was refreshing to see a Cowboys player exhibit some class and humility.
Another more recent off the field moment that made this Cowboys fan want to reach through the tv and give Ware a high-five was when he stepped in to try to defuse a sideline temper tantrum by wide receiver Dez Bryant in the closing moments of this past season’s loss to the Detroit Lions. Although the meltdown that happened in the final minutes of that debacle of a game made everyone who bleeds blue want to kick and scream, Ware was right in his reported assessment that a public outburst wasn’t appropriate. Leadership is a limited commodity in Dallas and the respect for himself and the Dallas Cowboys as a whole that Ware always exhibited will be sorely missed.
Despite his recent injury problems, I can’t help but think that in the not so distant future, Jerry and Company will regret their decision to let #94 exit The Ranch.