DeMarcus Ware sings the National Anthem before NFL preseason opener

Published 10:07 am Friday, August 4, 2023

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Troy Football fans saw a familiar face on Aug. 4. when Trojan legend – and soon-to-be Pro Football Hall of Famer – DeMarcus Ware kicked off the NFL’s first preseason game of the season between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets by singing the National Anthem.

A football legend singing the National Anthem may come as a surprise to many but Ware did it in honor of his former Denver Broncos teammate Demaryius Thomas, who passed away in 2021. Ware told the Dallas Morning News that he and Thomas used to sing the anthem together on the sidelines before games.

“You can never be ready for that,” Ware said of singing the anthem. “There’s ways you can prepare for it and have ample amount of vocal lessons, but when you get up there and when the crowd goes silent, it’s your turn to get up there and sing to the whole United States of American on what it stands for. And that is huge.”

Ware will be the very first Trojan to ever be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday when he is enshrined at a ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

Former Trojan Demarcus Ware is a Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Troy University Athletics)

Ware is also a member of the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Before he became a perennial Pro Bowler in the NFL, Ware was a star at Auburn High School and then moved on to dominating college football at Troy. Ware earned All-Sun Belt and NCAA Division I-A All-Independent honors during his Troy career. In 2003, he won Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. Ware ended his Trojan career first all-time in tackles-for-loss (55.5 tackles-for-loss) along with earning 27 career sacks, as well. He was selected as a member of the Sun Belt All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

Following his stellar college career, Ware became the first Trojan to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when the Dallas Cowboys selected him 11th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Ware rewarded the Cowboys by becoming one of the best – and most feared – pass rushers in the history of the NFL. He earned Pro Bowl honors nine times, All-Pro honors seven times, Butkus Award winner twice and NFL Sack Champion twice. He was also selected to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2000s. While Ware played the majority of his NFL career in Dallas, he played his final three seasons with the Denver Broncos, winning a Super Bowl in 2016.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Enshrinement Ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. and will broadcast live on ESPN and the NFL Network. Other NFL legends to be inducted alongside Ware will be former Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas, Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley, New York Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley.