The Denver Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention, and now they've placed one of their best defenders on injured reserve. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware suffered a ruptured disk in his back, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. Ware needs surgery and his season is over.
Kubiak said DeMarcus Ware has a ruptured disc in his back. Surgery tomorrow.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) December 29, 2016
Ware battled back issues throughout the offseason and the 2016 campaign, and he ultimately played in just 10 games. He totaled four sacks in his third year with the Broncos after notching 17.5 combined during his first two years with the team.
Now 34 years old and 12 years into a likely Hall of Fame career (he's eighth all-time in sacks and has made nine Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro teams), there will surely be speculation that Ware's time in the NFL is up. He seemed to address that with an Instagram post on Wednesday afternoon.
"Fuel is still in the tank" seems like a pretty definitive statement that Ware thinks he's got something left and intends to be on the field again in 2017. The procedure itself isn't expected to end his career, so if he wants to continue playing, he should be able to do so.
DeMarcus Ware will have scope procedure so back deal by itself is not career ending. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) December 29, 2016
Things can change, of course, but there's likely to be at least some sort of market for Ware as a part-time pass-rusher this offseason. His three-year deal with Denver expires at season's end and he'll be an unrestricted free agent.