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Mile High Morning: Former teammates, coaches describe DeMarcus Ware's impact in new 'A Football Life' documentary

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Less than two months ago, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware waved to the Denver faithful as the team commemorated his Hall of Fame induction. The year has been a special one for Ware, who sang the national anthem at the preseason Hall of Fame game and was inducted into pro football's most exclusive club as a member of the Class of 2023. Ware also embraced the opportunity to celebrate the honor with the Broncos on Alumni Weekend during Week 2.

Now, Broncos fans can again celebrate Ware's Hall of Fame career. NFL Films is set to debut "A Football Life" documentary on Ware's life and career, and Ware's Denver teammates and coaches expressed their admiration and appreciation for the legendary pass rusher. The documentary will air for the first time on NFL Network on Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. MT.

Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning was a major part of the recruitment efforts when Ware became available following a storied career with the Cowboys, and he was among Ware's former teammates interviewed for the documentary.

"I just told him that we needed him, needed a leader on defense, a veteran player that could hold guys accountable," Manning said. "And he was just the perfect fit."

Ware showed he still had plenty of football left to play in his 10th, 11th and 12th seasons as a pro, earning Pro Bowl selections in his first two seasons in Denver and recording 21.5 sacks as a Bronco.

Even with his resurgence in the regular season, his greatest impact came in the postseason. Ware was one of the leaders of the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, and his teammates remember him as a difference-maker on and off the field during a magical Super Bowl run.

Ware accumulated 1.5 sacks in the Broncos' first two playoff games, then erupted for two in Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers. Then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips remembered a play Ware made just before halftime that knocked the Panthers out of field-goal range and gave the Broncos a surge of momentum going into the halftime break.

"I've been in a lot of games, but going into the dressing room, you couldn't have been at a bigger high than we were, because DeMarcus made the play that kept them out of field-goal range," Phillips said. "That just rubber-stamped it, I guess, that they can't beat us."

Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller talked about the impact of Ware's mentorship on his own career and said one of the sweetest parts of winning on the game's biggest stage was seeing Ware finally win a title.

"There is no way that we were going out there and we were going to lose that game," Miller said. "I wanted it so bad for DeMarcus. That was the only thing that he ever needed was to get a Super Bowl, and I think that was a huge factor in me being able to go out there and play the way I played."

Manning was just as appreciative in the moments after the Broncos' 24-10 victory.

"I just remember being grateful that he chose Denver to come and play with us," Manning said. "He was a big part of us winning that championship."

The documentary will re-air on NFL Network on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. MT and is also available on NFL+.

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