Former outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who played for the Broncos for three seasons and helped the franchise win Super Bowl 50, has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023.
Ware is one of 15 Modern Era finalists, which the Hall of Fame announced Wednesday evening. There are also three Seniors finalists and one Coach/Contributor finalist. This is Ware's second time as a finalist, as he was also selected a year ago in his first year of eligibility.
A four-time first-team All Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler, Ware made his name as one of the best pass-rushers in NFL history. Since the league started tracking sacks in 1982, Ware ranks ninth in career sacks and he led the league in the stat in two separate seasons.
The Auburn, Alabama native entered the NFL in 2005 as a first-round pick by the Cowboys and became one of the league's best players quickly for Dallas. From 2006 through 2012, Ware made the Pro Bowl and was a first- or second-team All Pro each season.
After becoming the Cowboys' all-time leader in sacks in 2013, Ware became a free agent and looked to continue his NFL career elsewhere. He found a new home in Denver, joining a star-studded roster that had Super Bowl aspirations.
With the Broncos, Ware continued to excel, earning two more Pro Bowl selections and recording another season with double-digit sacks.
Then, in 2015, he experienced the most team success in his career, as Denver marched to Super Bowl 50.
As an integral part of one of the greatest defenses in league history, Ware was instrumental during the Broncos' postseason run as he recorded 3.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and a fumble recovery over three games. In the divisional round against the Steelers, he recovered a key fumble in the fourth quarter that led to a go-ahead touchdown and then ended Pittsburgh's next drive with a sack on fourth down. The following week against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Ware led the team with seven quarterback hits on Tom Brady, helping secure Denver's berth in Super Bowl 50. In the lone first Super Bowl appearance of his career, Ware continued his run with two sacks and four quarterback hits, helping ensure that he and the Broncos would hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Ware played one more season with the Broncos and added four more sacks to his ledger before retiring from the league. He finished his career with 138.5 sacks, 657 total tackles, 171 tackles for loss, 35 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, three interceptions, 25 passes defensed and three defensive touchdowns.
Whether Ware will be inducted in 2023 will be decided by the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee ahead of Super Bowl LVII. The Class of 2023 will be announced during the "NFL Honors" broadcast on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. MT.
As many as five Modern Era finalists can be elected to this year's class.