DALLAS — DeMarcus Ware was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2022. However, it wasn't a sure bet that the Dallas Cowboys would select him with their No. 11 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.
The Cowboys had twin first-round selections that season: No. 11 overall and No. 20 overall. Dallas also had a variety of directions they could go because they had those two picks. Coach Bill Parcells wanted to take LSU defensive end Marcus Spears at No. 11 overall. However, Jerry Jones overruled the coach and said the team would be taking Ware out of Troy State with the 11th overall pick.
"Bill, if anything, is very pragmatic," Jones told 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] on July 26 at training camp in Oxnard, Calif. "He's also very emotional. And, so, we had really — I'd say ol' Stephen [Jones] took it the most. But it wasn't awkward because Bill was Bill. But let's just say we weren't talking."
After having a meeting outside of the draft war room, Jones and Parcells returned with the Cowboys owner, president, and general manager requesting the card for Ware be filled out.
While the card was being filled out, Parcells was writing his own document on a legal pad next to Jones.
"We're sitting there and I see him take this legal pad and, man, is he carefully writing out a contract-looking document," Jones said. "As a matter of fact, he even put signature lines down."
"And he put on there: 'Should player not average 10 sacks a year in his first five years in the NFL, Mr. Jones agrees that Mr. Parcells and his significant other will get five trips a year on his G5.' And he put signature lines down there."
"And, so, I didn't even look at him. I read it right there. It was right beside me, six inches over, and he slid it over."
"I wrote an addendum: 'Mr. Jones so agrees provided Mr. Parcells agrees that should player get more than 12 sacks, the G5 and Mr. Parcells' significant other will go on the trip, but it will be Mr. Jones accompanying them rather than Bill.' Sign right there."
Through Ware's first five seasons with the Cowboys, the 6-4, 258-pound outside linebacker produced 64.5 sacks and led the league with 20.0 in 2008. Ware averaged 12.9 sacks through his first five seasons, giving Jones the win with the bet.
Parcells was also able to get his way as Spears was available at No. 20 overall, and the 6-4, 315-pound defensive end played with Dallas through the 2012 season.
Ware, an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro, finished out his final three seasons with the Denver Broncos, earning a victory in Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 campaign.
The 2022 class will be announced Feb. 12, 2022.
Do you foresee Ware making it into the Hall of Fame class of 2022? Share your predictions with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.