DeMarcus Ware had no inclination to return to the playing field in his first year of retirement.
The 35-year-old is happily retired after a standout 12-year career with the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos in which he piled up 138.5 career sacks and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
“I got three big calls,” Ware said on Thursday morning as he was officially announced as a “community ambassador” for the upcoming NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium.
“I thought about it now, don’t get me wrong, but I was like, ‘You’re done. You’re body is telling you it’s time for you to teach. You see your teachings through the players.’ ”
Ware said the calls for him to play again came before the season, during the season and at the end of the season. At the end of the day, though, he had accomplished just about everything he would have liked in his career.
Ware joined the Cowboys as their 2005 first-round pick out of Troy, and became one of the top defensive players in the game. He holds the franchise record for most sacks (117) and forced fumbles (32) in a career.
Ware played the final three years of his career with the Broncos, winning a Super Bowl championship in the 2015 season.
Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson said that Ware will become a member of the team’s Ring of Honor one day, echoing something her father, owner Jerry Jones, has told Ware in the past.
“When Jerry told me that, that meant a lot,” Ware said. “And when Charlotte says that, that meant a lot. It’s like you can etch your name in stone in history here with the Dallas Cowboys.”
Ware is now focused on his post-playing days. He serves as an analyst on NFL Network, although his contract expires in March. He could explore continuing his broadcasting career with the league network, but hinted multiple times of joining the Cowboys in a capacity where he’d still broadcast and possibly mentor players.
“Really trying to get back into mentoring the guys and maybe doing some pass rush stuff with the guys throughout the week [as well as] broadcast stuff,” Ware said. “I think it’ll be a great opportunity.”
Ware worked with the pass rushers once last season. It happened more spur of the moment as he wasn’t in workout clothes, but he left a positive impression on everyone, including defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
“He loved it,” Ware said. “He knows I’m a technician. That’s what he predicates his game off of — it’s about technique, knowing strategy. That’s what I do very well. He enjoyed it when I was out there.
“I did it once [last year]. I’m talking about really making an impact this year.”