Ware comes home: City of Troy and the state of Alabama honor DeMarcus Ware
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016
“Give someone a fist bump and say a prayer every day” is how former Troy Trojan great and current Denver Bronco DeMarcus Ware suggests the community celebrate the day named in his honor.
April 19, 2016, will be known as DeMarcus Ware Day around the state of Alabama, and the star defensive end from Troy University and Super Bowl 50 champion spent his day at the state capitol where he received a special proclamation from Gov. Robert Bentley before making his way south to Trojan Arena.
“Today has been one of those days where you have an out-of-body experience,” Ware said. “Not only being part of the house, meaning the capitol, I get a DeMarcus Ware Day on April 19. It’s very special.”
Coming back to Troy made the trip for Ware. He was able to return to his roots and to a place that molded him into the player that he is today. Ware was drafted from Troy as the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.
“Coming down to your roots where you worked hard, where you put in your blood sweat and tears and you get the familiar faces of your trainer and your coaches, it feels really good to get that welcome,” Ware said.
During the ceremony at Troy, current and former head football coaches Neal Brown and Larry Blakeney spoke about Ware’s character and what it takes to be leader both on and off the field.
“We have a mission statement within our program. There are three pieces, the first one is character; the second one is academics; and the third one is football,” Brown said. “We couldn’t ask for a better face for our program. I just want to say thank you to a guy that embodies those three characteristics.”
“I have always tried to teach student athletes to be the best that they can be,” Blakeney said. “We have a prime example of being the best right here with us today.”
Ware received the Troy Distinguished Leadership Award, presented by Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr.
Although winning his first ever Vince Lombardi Trophy, as Super Bowl Champion was nice, it’s awards like this that means the most to Ware.
“When you work at something for so long like the Super Bowl, it’s a really big accomplishment,” Ware said. “When you get to go home in the comfort of your hometown, get to come back to college and get the leadership award … that brings in a different feeling, a sentimental feeling. And it touches your heart.”
During the ceremony, Ware and the fans were treated with testimonials from players such as Dontarious Thomas, Kyvon Webster, Aqib Talib and Peyton Manning.
His current and former teammates congratulated Ware on his accomplishments.
And as the crowds celebrated a day in his honor, Ware turned the focus back to others.
“It’s all about bringing everyone together and celebrating the values that make you, you,” Ware said. “I think that is how the day should be portrayed each and every day, with positivity. Everybody can have negativity in their lives every single day, but mark this day when you wake up in the morning as a day of change.”
During the ceremony, Ware was also presented the key to the city by Mayor Jason Reeves and had a question and answer segment with the “Voice of the Trojans” Barry McKnight.
With the NFL draft right around the corner and teams beginning mini camps shortly after, Ware will be busy preparing for the start of the season. He said he will try and make an effort to visit Troy once again.
“If I have bye week and they have a home game, I will be back,” Ware said. “I will try to come to Troy before the season starts to get some things going around here. I think this season is going to be great for all the Trojans.”