Broncos place DeMarcus Ware on IR

ByAdam Schefter and Jeff Legwold ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Denver Broncosmoved outside linebacker DeMarcus Wareto injured reserve Wednesday due to continued back troubles.

The 34-year-old Ware was not on the practice field Wednesday and played just 25 snaps in the Broncos' 33-10 loss to the Chiefs on Christmas night.

"(His) back is bothering him, we're getting him looked at right here and we'll have to make a decision,'' Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said after Wednesday's practice. "Some things he's been playing through have been bothering him a little more."

The move could mark the end of a Hall of Fame-worthy career for Ware, who will turn 35 in July. He has wrestled with back troubles for much of his career, including five missed games in 2015 and an infection in his back that affected him throughout this past offseason.

Ware, a team captain, is in the final year of a three-year contract he signed in 2014 with the Broncos. He did take a pay cut this past offseason to return to the team, and at that time the Broncos had outlined a plan to make him more of a pass-rusher specialist who would play in longer down-and-distance situations.

Ware played in 10 games this season for Denver and missed five games with a fractured forearm he suffered in the Broncos' Week 2 win against the Indianapolis Colts. Since he returned from that injury he has had just two sacks in eight games.

His four sacks and nine tackles this season are both career lows.

Ware is eighth all time in sacks with 138.5 and second among active players. He is a nine-time Pro Bowl selection.

Before the Broncos were officially eliminated from the postseason last weekend, Ware said he was hoping to see what happened during the final two weeks before making a decision on his future.

"That's all that's on my mind right now," Ware said earlier this month, "... finishing strong, everybody on this team finishing strong and see what happens."