Spencer Ware

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/22/20

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DE Anthony Edwards

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

  • Activated off practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Ishmael Hyman

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: RB Spencer Ware
  • Activated off practice squad injured list: WR Thomas Ives

Cleveland Browns

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DB Elijah Benton

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DE David Irving

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Released: OL Andrew Jones

Washington Football Team

RBs Spencer Ware, Rod Smith To Work Out For Bears

The Bears will have a pair of veteran running backs in for workouts. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that Spencer Ware and Rod Smith are set to audition for the team.

Chicago doesn’t necessarily need any help at running back. Following a slow start to the season, David Montgomery has really picked it up recently; the 23-year-old has 288 rushing yards, 121 receiving yards, and four touchdowns over his past three games. Veteran Cordarrelle Patterson has also been a solid backup, as he’s hauled in 20 receptions through 13 games.

Still, the Bears are presumably looking for a replacement for Lamar Miller, who joined the team’s practice squad in early October. The former Pro Bowler was poached by Washington yesterday, and Chicago clearly doesn’t have an issue giving that practice-squad spot to a veteran.

So, in comes Ware and Smith for workouts. Ware has the most starting experience of the duo, mostly via a 2016 campaign when he rushed for 921 yards and three scores in 14 starts. After missing the entire 2017 season due to injury, Ware returned to (mostly) a backup role in 2018. He had a brief stint with Indy in 2019 before rejoining the Chiefs. After ending the 2019 season on IR, the 29-year-old hasn’t been able to find a new gig in 2020.

Smith spent most of his first four seasons in the NFL as Ezekiel Elliott‘s backup in Dallas. Following a 2018 campaign where he averaged only 2.9 yards per carry, Smith didn’t get any carries in six games last season with the Titans and Raiders. He joined the Giants practice squad earlier this season but was released a few weeks later.

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Raiders Host Spencer Ware On Visit

Josh Jacobs has not practiced this week, putting his availability for Sunday’s Raiders-Jets game in doubt. The Raiders are looking at a longtime Chiefs running back for potential insurance.

The Raiders hosted Spencer Ware on a Thursday visit, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The free agent running back last played for Kansas City in December 2019, having re-signed with the Chiefs during their Super Bowl-winning season. Ware, 29, has not signed with anyone this year.

Jacobs is battling an ankle injury sustained during the Raiders’ blowout loss to the Falcons. Devontae Booker has worked as his immediate backup this season and would start if Jacobs could not go Sunday. Las Vegas has passing-down backs Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick on its 53-man roster as well.

The Chiefs turned to Ware after Jamaal Charles went down in 2015. Charles’ immediate successor led the 2016 team with 921 rushing yards, earning a contract extension. But the Chiefs pivoted to Kareem Hunt in 2017, after a Ware season-ending injury, and Ware signed with the Colts in 2019. While Ware played in just three games last season, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2018. A shoulder injury ended Ware’s brief Chiefs stint last season.

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Chiefs Place Spencer Ware On IR

The Chiefs have placed running back Spencer Ware on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. To fill his spot on the roster, the club activated defensive tackle Xavier Williams from IR. 

Ware returned to the Chiefs on December 3rd, but his stay was short-lived. At the time, starter Damien Williams was hampered by a rib injury, but he returned to action last week. The Chiefs now have three healthy RBs in Williams, LeSean McCoy, and sixth-round rookie Darwin Thompson.

Ware spent four years with the Chiefs between 2015 and 2018. The LSU product had his best season in 2016, when he ran for 921 yards and three scores on 214 carries. He also added another 33 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns that season. Ware sat out the 2017 campaign recovering from a torn PCL and knee damage, and he saw a reduced role for the Chiefs in 13 games last year.

He signed with the Colts back in April, but ankle surgery landed him on PUP, then the free agent pile in September. In this run with the Chiefs, Ware carried the ball 17 times for 51 yards in three games.

The Chiefs will enter the playoffs as the AFC West champions. They still have a outside shot at a first-round bye if they beat the Chargers, but they’ll also need the Dolphins to defeat the Patriots.

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Chiefs Sign RB Spencer Ware

The Chiefs are banged up at running back, so they’re turning to a familiar face for reinforcement. The team has signed veteran running back Spencer Ware, reports Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star (via Twitter). In a corresponding move, the Chiefs cut wideout Gehrig Dieter.

Starting running back Damien Williams missed the Chiefs’ blowout over the Raiders with a rib injury, and Darrell Williams suffered a hamstring injury during the contest. That left Kansas City with only two healthy running backs heading into this Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots: 31-year-old LeSean McCoy and sixth-round rookie Darwin Thompson.

So in comes Ware, who spent four years with the Chiefs between 2015 and 2018. The LSU product had his best season in 2016, when he ran for 921 yards and three scores on 214 carries. He also added another 33 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns that season. Ware sat out the 2017 campaign recovering from a torn PCL and knee damage, and he saw a reduced role for the Chiefs in 13 games last year.

Ware signed with the Colts back in April, but he was placed on the PUP list after after undergoing ankle surgery. He was ultimately cut by Indy in late September. He hasn’t seen the field for the 2019 campaign, but he has auditioned for the Cardinals, Raiders, and Buccaneers.

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Buccaneers Audition RB Spencer Ware

The Buccaneers were busy this afternoon, as SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan reports (via Twitter) that the team worked out eight players. Among that grouping was a trio of offensive weapons: wide receiver Maurice Harris, wide receiver J.J. Nelson, and running back Spencer Ware.

The Buccaneers receiver depth chart is topped by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but the team could be looking for a veteran to fill out the squad. The coaching staff could also be hunting for a return man, as they’ve had to use punt returner T.J. Logan in double duty following the release of Bobo Wilson.

Neither Harris nor Nelson have much experience in the return game, but the two have plenty of experience on offense. Nelson, 27, was a 500-yard receiver as recently as 2017, but he’s fallen off over the past two seasons. He hauled in four catches in two games for the Raiders before getting released in early October. Harris, 26, had his first productive NFL season in 2018, but he hasn’t had a gig since getting cut by the Patriots back in August.

Similar to the Bucs’ receivers, the team’s running backs corps are pretty much set. In fact, earlier this week, coach Bruce Arians revealed that Ronald Jones had secured the starting running back gig, with Peyton Barber, T.J.Logan and Dare Ogunbowale also contributing to the running game. Ware would provide a veteran option, although the soon-to-be 28-year-old hasn’t seen the field in 2019. He had ankle surgery back in August, so it’s encouraging that he’s already working out for teams. The veteran had 470 yards on offense in 13 games for the Chiefs last season.

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NFL Workout Updates: 11/1/19

The latest from the workout circuit around the league:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Cardinals To Work Out Jay Ajayi

The Cardinals will meet with running back Jay Ajayi, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The running back will take a physical and audition for the club on Monday and Tuesday.

Before his injury-shortened 2018, Ajayi posted two strong seasons. In 2016, he earned his first career Pro Bowl nod as he averaged 4.9 yards per carry for the Dolphins. In 2017, a midseason trade sent him to the Eagles, where he averaged 5.8 yards per tote off of 70 tries and captured his first ever Super Bowl ring.

Unfortunately, that career progress was halted by a torn ACL, but Ajayi is now healthy and ready to show the NFL what he can do. For the Cardinals, he could be a useful fill-in amidst multiple injuries at the position. D.J. Foster was ruled out against the Giants and star David Johnson is pushing through an ankle injury of his own.

The advanced metrics indicate that Ajayi is among the league’s better running backs when healthy, so he could provide a major midseason boost to the Cards or any team in need of backfield help. After Sunday’s win over the Giants, the Cardinals are 3-3-1 as they get ready for a Sunday showdown with the Saints. When they take on New Orleans, they might have one of the league’s more intriguing RB talents in uniform, behind Johnson.

The Cardinals are also taking a look at Spencer Ware and Benny Cunningham, Rapoport hears (Twitter links). Ware was initially set to play for the Colts this year, but wound up on PUP with a toe injury. Ware disagreed with the team’s decision and was ultimately released in September. The Jaguars cut the former Rams and Bears back midway through training camp, and his in-season workouts thus far have not led to any contract agreements.

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Colts Release Spencer Ware

The Colts have released Spencer Ware, who was previously placed on injured reserve, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com relays, adding that Ware will be free to sign with any team next week.

Ware tore a ligament in his knee this past offseason and while the Colts placed him on the PUP list, the running back was not thrilled with that decision. “I am NOT done for [the] season,” Ware tweeted at the time (via Yahoo Sports). “When things happen you have to adjust and treat accordingly. I’m going to play THIS YEAR, so there are things that need to be done before that happens that’ll put me in the best case scenario. MINOR, MINOR, MINOR setback because of timing.”

It was reported last month, that Ware and the Colts were planning on reaching an injury settlement. Apparently, that has happened and the former Chiefs running back will attempt to play this season.

Spencer Ware Still Plans To Play In 2019, Wants Injury Settlement

It initially looked like Spencer Ware‘s season was over, but it turns out that might not be the case. Ware was moved by Indianapolis from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list yesterday, which means he’s ineligible to play for the Colts in 2019. 

However, he can still play for another team if he is able to come to an agreement with Indy. To that end, Ware plans on seeking an injury settlement that will allow him to play for a different team this season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapsheet also has additional details on Ware’s injury. Originally the Colts expected it to be a very minor issue, but obviously it turned out to be something more serious. Rapoport writes that the LSU product is having ankle surgery that will sideline him for the next 5-6 weeks.

For what it’s worth, Ware himself tweeted the following: “I am NOT done for season! When things happen you have to adjust and treat accordingly.I’m going to play THIS YEAR,so there are things that need to be done before that happens that’ll put me in the best case scenario.MINOR,MINOR, MINOR setback because of timing.”

Ware had a breakout 2016 campaign when he became the Chiefs’ starting running back, rushing for 921 yards and adding another 447 through the air. He was slated to again carry the load in 2017, but missed the entire season due to a knee injury he suffered in the preseason. When he returned last year he wasn’t used nearly as much, although he remained pretty effective. In 13 games for Kansas City last season, he carried the ball 51 times for 246 yards (4.8 YPC), and had 20 receptions for another 224 yards. Even with his injury history, Ware should be able to resurface with another team when he’s fully healthy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.