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11/20/2013

What the "D" in D-Ware is beginning to mean

WareFootball defensive end DeMarcus Ware returned to football practice on Wednesday for the Dallas Cowboys professional football team as it prepares for its football game against the New York Football Giants in a National Football League game on Sunday.

(six 'footballs' in one sentence; can do better)

Arguably the best player selected in the 2005 NFL draft, Ware will eventually join the Cowboys' Ring of Honor, and perhaps the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in scenic Canton, Ohio.

Great player. Great guy. It's a shame such a wonderful player never had the chance to play in the middle, or late, January.

Just as those truths are undebatable, as is his current value to this atrocious defense, the reality is that D-Ware is beginning shows signs of the other D-word - done. Not because he can't play, but rather his body is saying it will no longer cooperate.

Ware is 31, and before this year he played all 16 games in his first eight NFL seasons.

Ware hurt his quads that forced him to miss three consecutive games from Oct. 20 to Nov. 3 (the Cowboys were 2-1 without him). But even before this injury that forced him to sit he has not been the same guy since before last season. He's playing hurt.

He has 22 tackles with five sacks with an interception. Ware is on pace for his "worst" statistical season since he was a rookie in 2005.  

He remains this team's best pass rusher, and before the season he was hoping the move back to defensive end would extend his career. The problem, both for the Cowboys and Ware, is that without opposing defensive end Anthony Spencer in the lineup teams focus the majority of their attention to 94.

Ware still has quality football left in him, but age and injury are beginning to show signs of winning.

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tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Davidmar

Ware's on-field production is clearly in decline. You can expect that from most players in their 30's. The average NFL career is 3.4 years, but that's misleading. The average first round draft pick will be in the league around 9 years which will be Ware's NFL experience at the end of the season. He's played a lot of downs, and there is definitely some wear on the tires. He seems more susceptible to nagging injuries now, too. The real question is whether his skills have declined to the point that his role will need to be changed. One thing for sure, he'll be playing fewer downs in the coming years. That's not to say that he won't be productive being used as a pass rushing specialist.

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