5:42pm: Ware needs back surgery, Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press reports. This could threaten to end Ware’s career, per Stapleton. The Broncos’ blind-side pass-rusher and vital instrument to the team claiming its third Super Bowl title last season, Ware has dealt with significant back issues over the past two seasons — missing almost all of this offseason and five games last season as a result of this issue.
Although Ware’s contract with the Broncos is up after 2016, he expressed desire to play one more year, with Mike Klis of 9News reporting the outside linebacker wants to do that in Denver. The Broncos chose Shane Ray in the first round of the ’15 draft and have fellow backup Shaquil Barrett playing a steady role off the bench, so a Ware reunion might not be in the cards for the Broncos, at least not at the price he signed for in 2014 (three years, $30MM). The team has some cap space but has bigger issues to deal with this offseason than addressing a pass rush that still would rank toward the top of the league without Ware.
3:17pm: The Broncos are placing DeMarcus Ware on injured reserve, the team announced. Ware was unable to go in practice on Wednesday as he deals with a back injury.
This may mean that Ware has played his final game with Denver and his final NFL game. He’s slated for free agency at the end of the year and it may be time to call it a career at the age of 34. This year, Ware appeared in 10 games and totaled 15 tackles and four sacks. That’s a step down from his previous two Pro Bowl seasons with the Broncos and several notches down from his best years with the Cowboys.
From 2005-2012, Ware was a staple in Dallas’ front seven. He earned four first-team All-Pro nods and seven Pro Bowl selections during that time and he did not miss a single regular-season game. He posted double-digit sack totals for the Cowboys in every season there, except for his first and last. In 2008, he led the entire league with 20.0 sacks. If this is the end of the line for Ware, he’ll leave behind a legacy of terrorizing quarterbacks while being a mensch off the field.
In other Broncos news, defensive back Kayvon Webster was also placed on IR with a concussion. The Broncos promoted nose tackle Kyle Peko and cornerback Taurean Nixon from the practice squad to the active roster.
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