Cowboys notes: Ware, Hatcher tackle childhood hunger while off-season starts cooking

Posted Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When La’Roi Glover left the Cowboys, he gave DeMarcus Ware a parting gift. For the past nine years, Ware has been the host of the team’s annual Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party.

He recruited teammate Jason Hatcher to join him last year.

“This means a lot,” Hatcher said. “I’ve heard about this event in the eight years since I’ve been in the league. It’s one of those things I can relate to. I was one of those kids who would leave school in the summer and say, ‘Man, I can’t get two meals.’ That’s why I’m here today. I’ll put any time and effort I got into a situation like this I can relate to.”

The Cowboys have provided more than 4 million meals and raised more than $1 million for the North Texas Food Bank since they began the event. Last year’s event brought in $200,000, which was the goal for Sunday night.

During the event, the tragedies of last week in Boston and West were mentioned.

“All the tragedies and everything that’s been going on, you sort of sit back and you think about what’s going on in the world,” Ware said. “Then, some of the other [every day] tragedies that are going on like childhood hunger.… Every dollar that we earn here is three meals. I wish I could go to the store and spend a dollar to get three meals. Something like that is really good.”

Preparation for 2013 under way

The Cowboys began off-season workouts last week. They put last season’s disappointing 8-8 mark behind them and began working on becoming a playoff team for 2013.

“We’re excited. We’re ready,” DeMarcus Ware said. “There have been some changes, but they’ve been changes for the good. I feel like everybody on the team has grasped that concept. Let’s get ready for the season.”

New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was among the coaches at the team’s Ultimate Tailgate Party on Sunday night. He is switching the team from the 3-4 to the 4-3, the scheme the Cowboys have played for all but eight years of their existence.

Ware will move from linebacker to defensive end, as will Anthony Spencer. Jason Hatcher will move inside to defensive tackle.

“I think it’s going to be an easy transition,” Ware said. “There are three or four defensive fronts you’ve got to learn. Everything else comes off of technique and effort.”

Ware recovering

DeMarcus Ware has full range of motion in his surgically repaired right shoulder, and he is lifting now. He hopes to participate in some of the team’s organized team activities next month and the mandatory minicamp in June, though he might be limited in what he can do. He promises to be 100 percent for the start of training camp in July.

“It feels really good right now, but I hadn’t had any impact yet,” Ware said. “That’s the whole deal of, how much impact can you take? You don’t want to take it too early and have a setback.”

Ware hyperextended his right elbow in a December game against the Bengals and later injured his shoulder against the Saints. The torn posterior labrum was repaired Jan. 10.

He wore a brace on his elbow and a harness to protect his shoulder, and he admits the injuries prevented him from performing the way he is accustomed. Ware had only 1.5 sacks the last six games to finish with 11.5.

Though he turns 31 this summer and is changing positions, Ware said he believes he can return to being the dominant player Cowboys fans have gotten used to seeing for eight seasons.

“If you’re playing out there with a cast on, an elbow brace and shoulder brace on and you have one arm, and you’re going against a guy who’s 350 pounds, it’s a little bit different,” Ware said. “But I feel like if you get out there and give it all you got and what you got, some people would have been sitting on the sideline, and I wasn’t. So it’s getting out there and doing what you can do to help the team.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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