After his offseason back surgery, DeMarcus Ware’s mind told him he was ready to come back for the 2017 season.
But after stopping to listen to his body for a minute, he changed his mind.
Ware told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post that the thought of a 13th season seemed appealing to him at first, but the longer he pondered it, the less certain he became.
“You start thinking about your quality of life,” Ware said. “You still have the desire to get out there and play and compete and win championships. But my body was talking to me.”
Ware insists it wasn’t for a lack of people trying to talk him into coming back. He said he had offers from the Rams, Cowboys and Broncos, and said that had his Broncos contract not expired, he’d have likely given no thought to retiring.
“Football life is pretty short,” the 34-year-old Ware said. “But your life after football is a long time, and what type of quality do you have?”
“It wasn’t about the money anymore. It was about a way of life. How do I want to live? Because I knew God gave me 12 years to play this game, and now we’ve cleaned up everything those 12 years have cost my body. Going out here one more year and possibly tearing it up — is it worth it?”
And while it’s easy to wonder if his retirement is conditional, and that he might come back if the right time and place come together, he said he was certain he was finished.
“Once I make a decision, that’s it,” he said.
If that’s the case, it was a brilliant career, with 138.5 sacks in 12 seasons, putting him eighth on the all-time list.