IRVING, Texas -- DeMarcus Ware turns 31 on July 31, nearly two weeks into training camp. He doesn't feel like the old man of the Dallas Cowboys' defense, but his body was beaten up in 2012 and he probably felt like an old man when the season ended.
Shoulder surgery and a hyperextended elbow were the latest injuries for Ware, who finished with 11.5 sacks.
What about Ware?
"I haven't gone anywhere," he said. "I'm still here."
Ware, who is still recoving from last season's injuries, will miss the mandatory veteran minicamp next week, but he should be ready for the start of training camp. Remember, he basically played with one arm during the regular-season finale at Washington as the Cowboys badly needed him to play.
When healthy, Ware is a dominant force. And with the Cowboys moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, it allows him to rush the passer even more than ever before.
"I just think the terminology of the 3-4, you had to think a lot," he said. "Now I don't have to think about who I have to cover. It's about being aggressive and getting to the quarterback. That makes more you effective and gives you more opportunities."
If that's the case, Ware could return to those high sack totals of a few years ago. In 2011, Ware had 19.5 sacks. He had a career-high 20 sacks in 2008.
The expectations for Ware remain high regardless of his age. In this new defense, Ware is watching tape of Reggie White, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Simeon Rice to refine his game. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has shown the players how Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch attacked the football.
It's something Ware wants to continue doing, regardless of his age.
"I'm really excited, to be honest with you, with the way that we're playing," he said. "Guys aren't thinking so much. Not a lot of mistakes."