Less than a month after his retirement, DeMarcus Ware shed some light about what could have been had he sought to return for a 13th NFL season. The future Hall of Fame edge defender told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post he received three offers this offseason as a UFA — from the Broncos, Cowboys and Rams.
Ware told the Denver-based reporter something changed between early February and mid-March, leading him to retire. The 34-year-old posted on social media on New Year’s Eve of last year he planned to play in 2017, but he reversed course. However, Ware told Jhabvala had he been under contract with the Broncos for another year he would be suiting up for them this coming season.
Denver’s right outside linebacker said retirement didn’t cross his mind during last season, but he did reveal that he played around three games with a herniated disc in his back. He underwent back surgery following the Broncos’ Week 16 game in Kansas City.
“I’d sit down in meetings not knowing if I’d be able to get up,” Ware said, via Jhabvala, about going through weeks with the herniated disc. “This is stuff people don’t know you go through because I love playing football. … That [Chiefs] game, I was hurting so bad. I told myself, ‘You need to just get yourself fixed.”
It wasn’t known until today how serious a possible reunion with Wade Phillips in Los Angeles was. Ware visited the L.A. in March, with the Rams joining the Broncos and Cowboys in the pursuit. Jane Slater of NFL.com reported multiple teams offered Ware at least $7MM per year. He finished out a three-year, $30MM contract with the Broncos last season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.