DeMarcus Ware, a nine-year veteran, had his lowest career output on sacks with just six this season.
It appeared the move to defensive end from outside linebacker would be as easy as the Cowboys expected, but after putting up four sacks in the first three games, Ware’s season went downhill.
“The whole season I had my right elbow. I don’t know what’s wrong with it,” Ware said. “I’ll get it checked out. This game I wrapped my left elbow up, I hyper-extended it in practice. I had a torn right quad for probably about six games, and then I got a herniated disk in my back. But I’ve been playing with that since 2010. It flared up on me a little bit.
“I just get out there and play, man. When I have an opportunity to get out there and play, I play to the best of my ability and I just keep it rolling.”
Ware was affected by injuries in 2012, too. He needed reconstructive right shoulder surgery that limited his offseason work. He opted not to have surgery on his right elbow because with rest it improved. Perhaps that changes this offseason.
Ware finished with just six sacks, a career-low and saw his Pro Bowl string end at seven. After Sunday's Week 17 game, Ware indicated he would be open to taking a pay cut. He is set to make $12.25 million next season and count $16.003 million against the cap.
He turns 32 in July.
He hardly thinks his best days are over, especially with how well he did against Tyron Smith, who earned his first Pro Bowl trip, every day in practice.
“Oh my God, man, I feel like I started training camp on fire,” Ware said. “I couldn’t be stopped. I don’t care who I went against. Then trickling in the quad and the elbows and all the problems you sort of get (upset) about it because you know what you can do and you know there’s opportunities and things you can do for the team.
“To me, I feel like I wasn’t able to do that this season in key situations. Now I got to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Hey, how can I clear that off?’ and be better for next year.”