Why is Free Agent RB, DJ Ware available?
It doesn’t matter how you get in the league, it’s what you do once you’re in it. There are countless examples of players making an impact on Sundays who were not drafted to start off their NFL career: Texans running back Arian Foster, Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, Raiders wide receiver Josh Cribbs, Giants running back Ryan Grant, Bengals linebacker James Harrison, and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz to name several. But there is also, current free agent Danny “DJ” Ware.
Two-time Super Bowl Champion, DJ Ware came into the league undrafted in 2007. He signed with the Titans, was soon cut, signed with the Jets, was then cut again, and then signed with the Giants. This time, it worked out for him, and the team. He never got much playing time early in his career, only playing in 15 games the first three seasons, however, he showed up to work every day, and continued to improve on his journey and show the Giants promise of just what he was capable of.
“I did whatever was asked of me. For the most part, I was a third down back. I caught a couple of short passes out of the backfield. I ran some pretty good routes against linebackers.” DJ Ware continued his improvement year after year, and so did his pass protection.
Ware stated with confidence, “I believe that I am one of the best at pass protection. It is hard to fool me on a blitz. I learn schemes very quickly. I helped build a foundation for Eli Manning to throw the ball down the field to one of the receivers.” In a quarterback driven league, some would think that a running back’s skill at protection is valued, but often times, it is underrated. (There are no basic statistics to grade the performance.)
Little did Ware know at the time, that he would never be given a real chance to make an impact or cement himself in number one or number two role as a running back. However, often throughout his career, he was around great talent at his position, and they were often given more and more touches, while he would come in and do the dirty work such as blocking for the quarterback in pass protection.
During his time with the New York Giants, he worked closely with running back coach, Jerald Ingram. During his one-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, he worked with running backs coach, Earnest Byner.
“I think just having the coaches that I have had, and them seeing the work that I do and seeing how I practice and seeing how I work out, I think that speaks for itself. I think it should get a team to at least give me a shot.” DJ Ware mentioned.
With steady improvement as a third down back, special teams player, and pass blocker, DJ played in 14 games the following season, and then in all the games during their 2011 Super Bowl season. He also played in all games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. He has over 60 games of experience in his NFL career, and with low mileage, he still has young and fresh legs. In his last three years in the league, he played on Special Teams and was a primary third down running back for both Eli Manning and Josh Freeman.
He has a lot to offer to an NFL team, and when he signs with a team, he told me this is how he would approach his new home. The running back said, “I’m all about the team, I’m going to work harder than anybody, stay late, and I’ll be in the building as much as possible, and I’ll go out and prove it to a team, whether its preseason or camp or in the middle of the season. I can put that grind together, and show a team they didn’t make a mistake.”
DJ Ware is only 28 years old, and he’s spent his career doing what was asked of him. However, in his is six years in the league, he has only amassed 92 rushes, and 51 receptions. Ware continued and showed his value. Ware explained, “For the most part, I was a third down back. I contributed on Special Teams as well.”
However, he was recently released to make salary cap room for cornerback, Darrelle Revis.
And this week, DJ Ware called his current situation, “a waiting game”. He continued, “I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know if teams are looking at me. The only thing I can do is stay prepared, stay mentally sharp, stay physically ready, and make the most of an opportunity if it comes up.”
All Ware wants is a team to take a chance on him. There should be one team who can give him the opportunity to carry the ball more, and lead a locker room of running backs. He can make an impact on first and second down. He already can pass block with the top running backs of the league, and he wants to be the great company that he once had when he was a younger running back. He hopes that his “opportunity will arise”.
He leads by example. He studies hard. DJ Ware wants to make a difference in the locker room and on the field. Now is DJ Ware’s time.