Future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware’s decision to retire this week came out of left field. He had frequently talked about playing in 2017, and beyond. Even at 34, Ware is still near the prime of his career and has been an integral part of Denver’s dominating defense for the past three years.
So why leave the NFL (and $9 million on the table) now?
In an exclusive with The MMQB’s Peter King, Ware says he simply wants to protect his long-term health.
“How many times when I go through a full season do I feel great from start to finish? It’s hard. Football has been great for me. I love football. Always will. Heck yeah, I want to get out there and play. But I can’t let passion overrule my sense,” Ware told King.
This messaging is consistent with Ware’s retirement announcement in which he stated that his “long term health and quality of life outweigh the spark and passion to play I once had.”
As players become more educated about the lifelong ramifications of playing football these “early retirements” are only more likely to be commonplace.