DeMarcus Ware feels “like a new man,” ready for 2017

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DeMarcus Ware’s heading into unrestricted free agency, and after his recent back surgery, he says he feels “like a new man.”

The old one was pretty good, and the 34-year-old pass rusher said he wants to play again next season.

I definitely want to play, I’ve got a lot of passion, I’m always chasing that ring,” Ware told Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “People say if you get four sacks you pass this guy, or if you get five sacks you pass that guy, four-this, five-that. But my biggest thing is always I want a ring while I’m sacking the heck out of the quarterback.”

Ware had a ruptured disc repaired, going on injured reserve just before the regular season finale. And though nothing is certain contractually and the coaching staff has changed, he said he’s spoken with new Broncos coach Vance Joseph and wants to return to Denver. He’s rehabbing at the team facility now as well.

“I talked to Vance and he said I’m part of the equation,” Ware said. “Hopefully I come back there and I want to, but it’s also about the man who writes the checks and that’s [John] Elway. But I’m ready, I’m passionate and I want to lead that defense.”

“I’m working right there so everybody can see I’ll be ready to go next season.”

Ware’s dealt with a number of injuries the last two years, missing 11 games because of a broken forearm and back problems. And he had just four sacks last year, a career low. But as a situational rusher, he’ll likely find people interested in having him, and he’s hoping it’s the team that knows him best.

He’s eighth on the all-time sack list with 138.5, and only five sacks away from fifth on that list.