Ever since DeMarcus Ware had a scare in a Dec. 13, 1999, game against the Chargers, when he was carted off to the hospital with a neck injury, he has had flare-ups. But doctors cleared Ware with a series of tests last week.
"Everything was good," Ware said Wednesday. "Everything was normal just like it always is. I feel great, actually."
Douglas pads fitted Ware with new pads that Ware said he believes will help. But he still expects to have occasional problems with his neck, which will force him to miss a few plays.
"It always goes away in the off-season," Ware said. "It comes back some of the time during the season. I think it’s just going to be that way. You’ve just got to find some way to work through it and just do the precautionary stuff."
Ware had never had neck problems until he jammed his head into the hip of Chargers offensive tackle Brandyn Dombrowski. Ware left in an ambulance but played six days later against the Saints, recording two fumble-forcing sacks in a 24-17 upset.
Ware has never missed a game, though he has had to deal with what feels like a stinger.
"It’s like a stinger," Ware said. "You know how when you hit you get that tingling sensation around your arm? It goes numb for like two seconds. I’ll have my strength, do the test and then like it’s, ‘Alright, just wait a little while, then go back out and keep playing,’ but sometimes it can take away from maybe one play you can make or two plays you can make in key situations where you know you can make a play."
Ware said he spends time thinking about his long-term health.
“With football, your body takes a bruising, and you’ve just got to get out there and play any way you can,” he said. “And when your body tells you you can’t play any more, that’s when you’ve got to stop. You just can’t keep doing it.
“I’m still young compared to some people. You’ve just got to eat better. Still working out harder and keeping your body right. You’ve got to really hone in on that.”
-- Charean Williams