Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Ware is officially enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has a forever home in Canton, Ohio.
ALL Glory goes to GOD!!! Gold Jacket Ceremony 🧥 pic.twitter.com/T7PzRQnBOG
— D-Ware (@DeMarcusWare) August 5, 2023
His enshrinement speech was emotional, raw, and honest, telling the story of the moment that changed his life and how it brought him to this moment.
“From the moment I was born, God put me on a path to this jacket, on a path to Canton,” said Ware.
He said he was blinded by the environment he grew up in with domestic violence, drugs, and gangs which all taught him how to be “relentless, limitless, and resilient.”
DeMarcus Ware | The Moment That Changed His Life
Ware told the story that changed his life forever, and it wasn’t being the Cowboys’ 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. It was a moment that happened while he was still in college and visiting his home while attending a parking lot party.
“My uncle was in his car and, without warning, was knocked across the head with a gun and a knife dropped to the ground, and I picked it up. When I looked up, all I could see was the potential shooter’s eyes and a gun barrel pressed against my head. All I heard was my family say, ‘Don’t kill him,'” said Ware.
Then he talked about an eerie silence after that moment where he said, “This isn’t me,” and dropped the knife.
“At that moment, I knew God gave me a second chance, and I had to do something with it,” said Ware as his voice cracked, holding back tears.
He described this as his turning point. He said the sirens in the parking lot and the screams saying “Don’t kill him” that night was the fire that empowered him.
“When I trained, I was motivated by the memories of those parking lot lights. And when I ran onto the field, the crowd cheered. Those memories of those screams began to fade. Every sack I made to ease that frightful night and replaced it with positive energy,” said Ware.
Ware’s 9 Seasons With the Dallas Cowboys
Ware talked about Troy being the only college that offered him a scholarship and that all of his hard work there brought him to the moment Jerry Jones and the Cowboys called him on his Nokia flip phone during the 2005 NFL Draft.
Ware thanked Jones for taking a chance on him and allowing him to play “in two of the greatest stadiums with the most amplified crowds” that helped silence the pain of his past.
“Those places became my new church every Sunday. I told the Lord, ‘If you give me six days to prepare, I’m gonna let you take over on the seventh and let people know that you are a bad mama jama that can do all things,'” said Ware.
He went on to name teammates that impacted him and thanked them. Those guys are Tony Romo, Larry Allen, and Jason Witten.
Ware says he was always smiling because his teammates were the highlight of his day, helping him get through his life outside of football.
“I was a sponge that absorbed everything, and I smiled. And now I look out, and I see you guys smiling. What a wonderful feeling. You chose me to be your captain, and I’m forever humbled by it,” said Ware.
Ware’s 3 Seasons With the Denver Broncos
Ware said it was time to shine somewhere else after his time with the Cowboys, which led him to the Denver Broncos.
He said it all started with a call from John Elway, the Bowlen family, and Peyton Manning, where Manning told him, “Let’s go win this thing.”
They would do just that when they went on to win Super Bowl 50.
“My teammates that year were unstoppable, and I’m so proud to be part of that legacy,” said Ware.
Ware Thanked Those Around Him
Of course, Ware thanked his coaches from high school, college, and the NFL, saying they poured into him and saw something he didn’t see within himself.
Ware also named some of the friends and teammates that have passed, which included Demaryius Thomas, Ronnie Hillman, and Marion Barber, saying he held seats for them in his heart.
.@DeMarcusWare reserved seats in Canton for his former teammates who have passed away. ❤️
— NFL (@NFL) August 5, 2023
He also thanked his family, who were in attendance, including his mom, sister, wife, and kids, saying his heart is anchored in them.
Lastly, he talked about learning about forgiveness and healing, saying he has done that for himself and his father.
“You once said two simple words to me: ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not sure I responded, but I’m telling you now, on the biggest platform of my life, I forgive you,” said Ware.
Ware grew up in a single-family household, and at the end of his speech, he told his dad, who was in attendance, that it doesn’t matter why he wasn’t there for him before because he is there now.
Ware was selected on his second ballot, despite being one of the best pass rushers ever.
He had a career of 138.5 sacks, the third most in the 21st century, according to the NFL.
Ware had nine Pro Bowl appearances and led the league in sacks in 2008 and 2010.
As Ware’s enshrinee, Jones described him as “A rare combination of physical gifts with high mental and moral character.” Jones said the combination of all of that created “one of the rarest players to ever play the game” in Ware.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) August 5, 2023
Jones added that people in the Hall of Fame make it special, which “went up a notch” with the addition of Ware today.
Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast
Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Cowboys Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Cowboys Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.