Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expects outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware to play in Sunday’s winner-take-all battle for the NFC East title against Washington despite being sidelined with a strained shoulder in crunch time of the team’s 34-31 loss to New Orleans.
“Somehow, some way, DeMarcus is going to get himself right to play in this Washington game,” Garrett said during today’s news conference at Valley Ranch. “He’ll battle through anything.”
Ware, a six-time Pro Bowler, never has missed a game in his Cowboys’ career. But he took part in only 59 of 95 plays in Sunday’s game against New Orleans. Ware, the team’s sack leader (11.5), missed the entire fourth quarter and returned for only one play in overtime _ to rush the passer on a third-and-3 situation.
Ware has been playing with a hyperextended elbow and also battled a hamstring ailment earlier this season. Garrett stressed that team trainers will make sure Ware is “functional and can protect himself” during practices this week before he suits up against the Redskins. But he made it clear Monday that he is counting on Ware to be in Sunday’s lineup.
“DeMarcus Ware is such a talented athlete, I think a lot of times, people lose sight of the kind of person he is and how mentally and physically tough that he is,” Garrett said. “He’s a very willful guy … He wants to get out there and help our football team.”
Garrett said Ware’s track record for durability speaks for itself.
“He just somehow, some way gets himself ready to play in a ballgame,” Garrett said. “He hasn’t had the gaudy numbers that he’s had in the past in terms of sacks, but he’s certainly been a productive player for us. I think a lot of that goes to his will and his passion for playing, his passion for his teammates and his love for the game.”_ Jimmy Burch