DeMarcus Ware becomes first Trojan to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame

Published 9:18 am Monday, August 7, 2023

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Former Troy Trojan DeMarcus Ware officially became the first Troy alumnus to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

Ware was one of nine football legends to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, capping off a stellar career. Ware started the weekend off by singing the National Anthem – in honor of former Denver Bronco teammate Demaryius Thomas – at the kickoff of the NFL Preseason.

Ware, an Auburn native, played college football at Troy, where he was a two-time All-Sun Belt defensive lineman and the 2004 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. Ware ended his Troy career with 201 tackles, 27.5 sacks, 55.5 tackles-for-loss and 74 quarterback hurries. His tackles-for-loss rank first in school history and his sacks are second in school history. Ware was selected as a member of the Sun Belt Conference All-Decade Team for the 2000s and has already been inducted into the Troy University Sports hall of Fame and Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. Ware had plenty to say about his alma mater during his induction speech.

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“College makes you grow up, doesn’t it? I’m proud to be a Trojan,” Ware said. “I had an amazing college family (in) Chancellor (Dr.) Jack Hawkins, Larry Blakeney, Miss Judy (Morgan), Richard Shaughnessy, my Troy teammates and many others. I learned the value of building relationships.”

Ware also described a life-changing event that occurred during his college career, while attending a party in his hometown of Auburn.

“Often, there’s something in our lives that pushes us to make a real change,” he said. “For me, that one single frightening moment was when I was in college. I was attending a parking lot party when I was visiting home. My uncle was in the car, and without warning, was knocked across the head with a gun.

“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.’ There was an eerie silence, after which I simply said, ‘This isn’t me’ and I dropped he knife. At that moment, I knew God gave me a second chance and I had to do something with it. That was my turning point. The memory of those parking lot lights and the sounds of those screams of ‘don’t kill him’ became the fire that empowered me.”

DeMarcus Ware is considered one of the best pass rushers in Troy and NFL history. (Photos courtesy of Troy University and Dallas Cowboys)

Ware’s collegiate success translated to the NFL. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, becoming the first Trojan to ever be selected in the first round. He played there for eight seasons, earning four first-team All-Pro honors, three second-team All-Pro honors and seven Pro Bowls. He also won the NFL’s version of the Butkus Award twice, led the NFL in sacks twice and was selected as a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Ware played his final three NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, where he earned two more Pro Bowl appearances and won a Super Bowl in 2015. He ended his NFL career with 654 tackles, 171 tackles-for-loss, 138.5 sacks, three interceptions and 35 forced fumbles. He currently serves as a pass rush consultant for the Broncos.

Not only did Ware become the first Trojan to ever be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but he was also the first Sun Belt player to ever be inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame.