On Super Bowl Sunday, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller spearheaded a ferocious pass rush that frustrated Cam Newton and won the Denver Broncos the Lombardi Trophy. Ware apparently decided he's going to come back next year to try to win another title.
After Denver's victory, the veteran linebacker talked about why he will return to the Broncos for a 12th NFL season.
"I got a lot of gas in the tank," Ware said, per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. "Von was the one that added the gas to the fire for me, so that's why I'm playing the way I'm playing right now. I don't think about retiring. God still wants me to play—that's why I'm still doing what I'm doing.
"When I start bringing the cane out, you guys make sure that you tell me, 'DeMarcus, it's time to hang the cleats up.'"
Ware, 33, is one of the most prolific pass-rushers in NFL history. His 134.5 regular-season sacks are the 11th-most in NFL history, and he's third among active players (Jared Allen, Julius Peppers).
While Ware isn't the player he was during nine years with the Dallas Cowboys, he contributed to the NFL's best pass rush in 2015. The veteran recorded 25 tackles and 7.5 sacks, numbers that rank among his career worsts but proved situationally effective. Ware was also limited to 11 games because of injury and was hampered by a knee issue during the Broncos' postseason run.
More than anything, Ware has been a mentor to Denver's burgeoning young talent over the last couple of years. Von Miller, 26, has continued his ascent to becoming one of the NFL's best pass-rushers, and the Broncos had a swarming front seven that could bring opposing quarterbacks down at any time. Six Denver players recorded at least four sacks, and the team led the NFL in sacks with 52.
"He is a natural leader," Miller said of Ware before the Super Bowl, per Martin Rogers of USA Today. "When you hear DeMarcus Ware, you automatically think 'great guy.' You see him on all of the commercials—he's great.
"He has done everything the right way—a true leader. He's my idol. I've been looking up to him for a long time."
Ware has one year remaining on his contract at a base salary of $7 million. He had signed a three-year deal with the Broncos in 2014 after becoming a cap casualty with the Cowboys. The stint added two more Pro Bowls to his resume, giving him nine overall. He also has seven All-Pro selections (all in Dallas), including four of the first-team variety.
There is a Hall of Fame plaque waiting in Canton, Ohio, with Ware's name on it, so it wouldn't have been a shock if he'd decided to walk away for good. There are big changes afoot given Denver's cap situation, and he's coming off the biggest game of his career. But there's a cool $7 million waiting if the Broncos choose to keep him around, and moving into the top five all time among sacks leaders isn't out of the question.