ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When DeMarcus Ware makes his return to Dallas, memories will surface, but he said there won't be any hard feelings about coming back to where his NFL career began.
Ware, who was released by the Cowboys in March, was a seven-time Pro Bowler in Dallas and a four-time first-team All-Pro, racking up 117 total sacks in nine seasons. His transition to the Broncos via free agency did not leave him with a grudge of any kind, he told the media following practice Tuesday afternoon.
"I left a great organization, the Dallas Cowboys, but I think it's going to be just good memories going in there from how many years I played there and how many times I played in that stadium," Ware said. "My family is going to be there, too, but business is business and you have to sort of transition into what's next and I am here now."
The new environment has been a bit of an adjustment for Ware, especially with the high altitude: Denver's mile-high elevation is about 4,850 feet higher than Dallas.
"Your metabolism speeds up. You can lose a little bit more weight, but you have to have a little bit more cardiovascular because you're at such a high altitude," said Ware, who lost about 10 pounds after his last season in Dallas. "I still don't have to carry the heavy weight because now the scheme I am in, it's almost like I'm playing a 3-4 outside linebacker, but in a 3-point stance. I don't have to carry that heavy weight, and it's actually been helping me out a lot and keeping my body really healthy."
Part of his transition will also involve how much he has to pay attention to offensive route patterns when he's playing more in coverage. He noted that he has to know where opponents run their routes and where he fits in the defense. Being lighter, he said, can help him in the defensive scheme in playing coverage.
Helping him with that is another big new offseason addition to the defense, cornerback Aqib Talib.
Talib's preparation in the film room and comprehensive defensive knowledge extends to giving helpful pointers to Ware. "He'll tell me what I'm dropping maybe in the fire zone or three coverage. 'Hey, this is exactly where you need to drop it. These right here are the pass routes that you want to see behind you.' So he helps me out," Ware said. "Having a guy that can be at corner but knowing the free safety stuff, knowing the strong safety stuff, knowing everything of the defense, that's the type of guy you want."
Coincidentally, Talib will join Ware in making a homecoming of sorts, having grown up and attended high school just outside of Dallas in the city of Richardson.