DeMarcus Ware Leaves Dallas as Franchise Leader in Sacks and Forced Fumbles

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffMarch 12, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22:   Robert Griffin III
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Outside linebacker/defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who was released by the Cowboys on Tuesday, will leave Dallas as the all-time franchise leader in both sacks (117) and forced fumbles (32), per NFL Stats.

Released for salary cap purposes after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Cowboys, Ware will continue his legacy elsewhere, following a subpar (by his own standards) 2013 campaign that saw him miss games for the first time in his career.

After playing all 16 games in each of his first eight seasons, while averaging 13.8 sacks per campaign, Ware recorded a career-low six sacks in just 13 games last season.

For the first time since his rookie year in 2003, the seven-time Pro Bowler failed to record double-digit quarterback takedowns.

Even on the heels of a disappointing season, it's quite clear that Ware was the Cowboys' best player since the days of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin in the 1990s.

Over the last 15-20 years, only a few players have sustained success with the team for more than a few seasons, a reality that makes Ware's seven consecutive double-digit sack campaigns all the more impressive.

Despite dealing with an atmosphere that was often chaotic, the 260-pound pass-rusher never let any of the drama impact his play. Per ESPN Stats & Info, his 117 career sacks would be an NFL record for a player's first nine seasons if not for the fact that Hall of Famer Reggie White had an incredible 137 sacks at the same stage of his career.

Once he finds a new home, Ware can work on catching up to White, whose 198 sacks rank second in NFL history behind Bruce Smith's 200. It's obviously a long shot, but the 31-year-old Ware could someday make a run at both Smith and White, if he can put 2013 in his rear-view mirror.