Fast-forward to today, and Ware, now playing defensive end, is coming off a low sack total for a man of his stature in the league -- 11.5, tied for ninth overall. Shoulder and elbow injuries hampered Ware for the final month of the 2012 season. In the offseason, Ware underwent shoulder surgery, and his recovery has been near perfect. He didn't miss any training-camp practices because of it and looks faster and stronger.
Now healthy, Ware is aiming to reclaim the sack title from J.J. Watt, who totaled 20.5 last season.
"You know what, he plays for Houston," Ware said, smiling. "I’m with the Dallas Cowboys. He does what he does."
Ware is more worried about getting his team to the playoffs after consecutive 8-8 seasons. Sunday night, Ware takes on the New York Giants, against whom, in 16 career games, he has 13.5 sacks, the most against any team. All of those sacks are of Eli Manning.
Among active NFL sack leaders, Ware has 111, fourth behind Julius Peppers (111.5), Jared Allen (117) and John Abraham (122.5). With the Cowboys changing defensive schemes, going to a 4-3 from a 3-4, Ware will play defensive end, a position he hasn't played since college.
"Once the ball is snapped, he looks like the same guy to me," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
This scheme is designed for Ware to rush the passer almost every play and not drop back in coverage, which was just part of his responsibility in the 3-4.
So how about another 20-sack season?
"Oh, man. I think just getting pressure," said Ware, credited with 33 pressures last season. "The main thing is how many pressures can you get, how effective can you be. We’ve been talking about turnovers the whole time. To me, it’s about getting the sack, but what about that fumble that comes with it and making those big plays and getting the offense back the ball?"