Dallas Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons says it all the time. He’s “hungry.” But part of that hunger isn’t just to get sacks and tackles on the field in every game. He also has a hunger to learn and better himself. And, who better to learn from than Cowboys legend and current semifinalist for the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Game, DeMarcus Ware.
In nine years with Dallas, Ware had 117.0 sacks, four All-Pro seasons, and seven Pro Bowl games. His stats place him among the best pass rushers in NFL history, ranking ninth overall in career sacks.
On Wednesday, Parsons revealed that he got lunch with Ware to get some advice before his first-ever NFL playoff game. This wasn’t the first time the two would meet. During preseason, there was a segment in HBO’s Hard Knocks (video below) that showed the two preparing for the season. According to Jori Epstein of USA Today, the two spoke throughout this season to check in on how Parsons was doing.
It appears those check-ins went well given the rookie surpassed the organization record for sacks in a rookie season set by Ware (8.0) back in November.
Micah Parsons has lunch with Cowboys legend DeMarcus Ware to prepare for his first playoff game
Ware is undoubtedly an excellent person’s mind to pick, especially before the playoffs. In 2015, Ware battled through injuries to get the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His seven QB hits on Tom Brady in the AFC Championship helped Denver get to the title game. Ware was integral in the Broncos winning their third Super Bowl that year thanks to his two sacks.
They’ve met at Ware’s gym. They text or talk weekly. And, Ware has kept up with Parsons’ achievements. Ware told Heavy Sports back in November that he felt Micah “was doing really well.” Ware said he hoped Parsons would continue to progress and “do his thing.” And he did. Parsons ended the season with 84 tackles, three forced fumbles, and led the team with 13 sacks.
For this meetup, Ware told Parsons to focus on jumping off the line, showed him what to look for when watching film, and told him to keep his head low so that the young player can focus on what’s ahead.
On Wednesday evening, Ware also told USA Today Sports this about his talks with Parsons:
"“When you’ve got a first-round draft pick coming in and not really worried about are they arrogant or not? He wasn’t (and it was) crazy how fast he picked it up. That’s what you want to see in your rookie: When you tell them something, they’re going to change it right then because they want it.”"
That’s high praise from a guy who hopes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
The two-hour lunch between the two football players seemed to be useful. Back in practice thanks to being off the COVID-19 list, Parsons says he’s ready for Sunday. He told reporters the goal is to minimize the 49ers’ explosive plays and create turnovers.
The rookie ended his interview by saying he thinks the Cowboys have a great chance of winning the game. Whether that confidence was instilled by Ware or anyone else, that mindset is what every member of the Dallas roster needs to have entering Sunday.