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Monday, December 30, 2013
DeMarcus Ware clarifies comment

By Todd Archer
ESPN.com

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys star defensive end DeMarcus Ware said Sunday that he would be a "team player" when asked directly about the possibility of taking a pay cut in 2014.

Ware clarified his comment Monday, one day after Dallas' season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I said I'll do whatever I need to do to maneuver some things to help the team out," Ware said. "I'm for that ... A pay cut and a restructure are two different things, know what I'm saying?"

DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware recorded a career-low six sacks in 2013, his ninth season with the Cowboys.

Ware is set to make a $12.25 million base salary in 2014 and count $16.003 million against the salary cap. In the past, he has restructured his contract to create salary-cap room, but he has not taken less money to do so.

Like every team, the Cowboys will lower a player's base salary to or near the veteran minimum and turn the rest into a signing bonus for cap purposes.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledged after Sunday's loss that the Cowboys will have to make a number of difficult decisions because of the team's salary-cap challenges. They will restructure a number of contracts, including Tony Romo's, to free up room, but could also choose to part ways with several veterans.

If the Cowboys cut Ware, who turns 32 next July, they will create roughly $7.4 million in cap space for 2014. The Cowboys convinced right tackle Doug Free to take a pay cut in 2013 from $7 million to $3.5 million.

Ware is coming off a career low in sacks with only six and missed three games because of a quadriceps strain. He also dealt with back and stinger problems as well as injuries to both elbows.

Ware said he likely will have surgery on his right elbow in a few weeks. He had right shoulder surgery after last season but chose not to have surgery on the elbow. In practice last week, he said he hyperextended his left elbow.

For years, Ware has been one of the NFL's premier pass rushers. He is the Cowboys' all-time leader in sacks and has been selected to seven Pro Bowls.

Ware said he can return to form if healthy.

"Going back into training camp, I felt better than I did in a long time," Ware said. "Then the little injuries happened ... and so you sit back and think, 'What can I do now this offseason to make sure that doesn't happen again?' Because I know exactly where I can be and how I can play.

"The injuries took a toll on me a whole lot this season, but there's no excuse. I go out there and play, and I've got to figure out some way to get healthy for next season."

Romo was at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch complex on Monday, three days after undergoing back surgery. The Cowboys expect him to be ready for organized team activities in May after undergoing his second back surgery in eight months.

"The nature of his injury was not alarming," Jones said Sunday night. "As a result of what they saw when they had the surgery, it's not alarming as to his future. It wasn't complicated. It was readily addressable and should frankly expect the kind of rehab or recovery he had earlier with the cyst-type situation.

"I honestly know that he got quicker relief once he had the procedure. He got immediate relief and he's doing well."