Ware named finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Published 9:44 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

Legendary Troy Trojan and NFL star DeMarcus Ware was named one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

Ware was also named as a finalist last year but didn’t make it in to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Auburn native is considered one of the best pass rushers in NFL history and is already a Troy University Sports Hall of Fame and Senior Bowl Hall of Fame member.

After a standout high school career at Auburn High School, Ware signed with Troy and quickly became one of the top defensive players in school history. He was a two-time All-Sun Belt defensive lineman and won Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He was a member of Troy’s first-ever bowl game win and finished his college career as the school-record holder for career tackles-for-loss and ended up fourth all-time in career sacks. At Troy, Ware totaled 201 tackles, 55 tackles-for-loss, 27.5 sacks, 74 quarterback hurries, 10 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one interception.

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Ware went on to become the first Trojan in school history to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft when the Dallas Cowboys selected him 11th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Ware played for nine seasons with the Cowboys and was consistently one of the top defenders in the league during that stint. He ended his Cowboy career as the franchise’s all-time sack leader. During that span, Ware was selected as a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in seven of his nine seasons in Dallas, led the league in sacks an NFL-record two times and was the Butkus Award winner twice.

Following his nine years in Dallas, Ware moved on to Denver where he was a member of the Super Bowl 50 winning Broncos and was also selected to his eighth and ninth Pro Bowls. Ware was also selected as a member of the Sun Belt 2000s All-Decade Team and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Ware and former teammate Osi Umenyiora combined for one of the best pass-rushing tandems in both high school and college and their careers continued to mirror in the NFL. The pair played together at Auburn High School and then again at Troy. In 2002, Umenyiora and Ware combined for 40 tackles-for-loss, 25 sacks, 52 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles in their last year together at Troy.

Umenyiora was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Like Ware, Umenyiora became one of the top pass-rushers in the league and earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors twice, holds the NFL record for most forced fumbles in a season and won two Super Bowls. He also was selected to the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame.

Ware could potentially have a very busy February, as he will be serving as the defensive coordinator for the NFC in the Pro Bowl on Feb. 5. On Feb. 9, the NFL will announce the 2023 Hall of Fame class.