IRVING, Texas -- It should not surprise anybody if DeMarcus Ware has a Pro Bowl season in 2014 -- wherever he ends up.
He turns 32 in July, is coming off elbow surgery and a career-low six sacks in 2013, but he will have a motivation to prove the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the naysayers wrong.
It will be hard for the Cowboys to stomach because there will be noise from here, there and everywhere if Ware has a 15-sack season and is as dominant as ever, but it would not necessarily mean they made the wrong move in letting their all-time leader in sacks go. If anything, the Cowboys decided to make a move a year too early rather than a year too late by releasing Ware.
"I want to be quiet," Ware said almost a month ago before undergoing elbow surgery. "I just want to let my actions speak for themself. But I do chuckle a little bit because I know there’s a tornado coming."
When he arrived from Troy in 2005, there were some doubts that he could not only make the jump from that level of football to the NFL but from defensive end to outside linebacker. Bill Parcells did not have many doubts, even if he wanted Marcus Spears with the No. 11 pick. Parcells quickly mentioned Lawrence Taylor after the Cowboys took Ware, so I wouldn’t say he didn’t want Ware.
He had seven straight seasons with at least 11 sacks. He had seasons of 20 and 19.5 sacks.
But injuries knocked him down in 2012 and ’13. The Cowboys did not view this from only a 2013 prism only. Even though Ware had 11.5 sacks in 2012, they felt the decline had started.
The move to the 4-3 might have quickened the fall, but there are images of Ware I can’t get out of my head.
It is of Ware in Oxnard, Calif., in training camp. Day after day he repeatedly beat Tyron Smith. He did it in one-on-one pass-rush drills. He did it in team drills. He was the best player in training camp almost every day. Better than Dez Bryant. Better than Sean Lee. Better than Jason Witten. Better than Smith.
He had four sacks in his first three games but then the injuries piled up. Ware's practice time became limited and his production sank.
There is good football left in Ware. He showed it last summer against one of the best left tackles in football.
The Cowboys will only see it if the next team he signs with his is on their schedule or if they pay attention to the highlights.