Former NFL linebacker DeMarcus Ware announced a $10,000 donation Friday to cover grave marker expenses for the 23 people who died in Sunday’s tornado in Beauregard, Alabama.
Lee County coroner Bill Harris confirmed the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation will use the money on markers after the EF4 tornado led to widespread destruction and the 23 deaths, including four children, per Kirsten Fiscus and Brad Harper of the Montgomery Advertiser.
Ware, who grew up in the Lee County city of Auburn, released a statement about the donation:
“When I heard the news, I didn’t know where to start, I just knew I had to do something. We are coming up on ‘DeMarcus Ware Day’ (April 19) in the state of Alabama and when that proclamation was declared three years ago, I made a vow to always do my part to protect ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ All things considered, this donation is small in comparison to the devastating feeling of burying a loved one. I look forward to making an even bigger impact in the weeks to come as relief needs continue to be assessed.”
After attending Auburn High School, he played college football at Troy University in Alabama.
Ware went on to earn nine Pro Bowl selections, including seven straight while with the Dallas Cowboys, during a 12-year NFL career that was also highlighted by winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos.
DeMarcus Ware Day was first celebrated under former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in 2016.
As Lane Kiffin jogged off the practice field, he was stopped by Ernest Bagner.
Earlier that morning, the Florida Atlantic coach had issued Bagner a challenge: get three sacks today.
“He told me he got four,” Kiffin said. “It was good to see.”
Bagner, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end, is one of two former junior college players competing for playing time along FAU’s defensive line. The other is Tim Bonner, a tall, lanky pass rusher with a quick first step.
Both are entering their first season at FAU, and both players started fall camp low on the Owls’ depth chart, playing mostly on the third and fourth teams.
But both have moved up. And Kiffin isn’t…
Jason Witten is ditching retirement and ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast booth to play again for the Cowboys.
The longtime franchise standout’s unexpected return, which the Cowboys announced Thursday afternoon and SportsDay’s Jon Machota reports will be on a one-year contract for $5 million, prompted widespread shock and several jabs about his rocky broadcasting tenure.
Here’s some of the national reaction on Twitter to the Cowboys’ new — and old — tight end:
Don’t expect to see DeMarcus Ware on Denver’s sideline next season.
The future Hall-of-Fame linebacker figures to pursue different endeavors after serving the Broncos as a part-time pass-rush instructor in 2018. Per Mike Klis of 9News, the team has still had “no discussion” about bringing back Ware as an assistant under new head coach Vic Fangio.
Fangio himself confirmed on Jan. 24 that he’s yet to speak with Ware.
“We haven’t had those discussions yet,” he said.
Following various media gigs and television appearances since his 2017 retirement, Ware returned to the Broncos as a defensive consultant for then-HC Vance Joseph. He tutored the team’s edge defenders and linemen during parts of spring workouts, training camp and the regular season.
Ware’s star pupil was first-round draft pick Bradley Chubb, whose historic rookie campaign included setting the Broncos’ rookie sack record and finishing as a Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist. With Ware’s expert tutelage, Chubb’s steadily progressed from week to week, to the point where he totaled 7.5 sacks over a five-game stretch, forming a terrorizing bookend to perennial Pro Bowler Von Miller.
“I could see how he’s been progressing throughout the whole season, from the first game, second game, third game. Oh, man, [in the] third game he got a sack!” Ware recalled to the Broncos’ official website. “And I could see he’s progressing along as he should, but he’s still learning and he can get even better. And knowing that now he’s past my single-season rookie record already, I feel like the sky is the limit for him. I told him, ‘You have all the tools needed to be an awesome pass rusher, and as you keep progressing, you take it, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”
In January, Chubb spoke glowingly of Ware and the lessons he imparted.
“I feel like this whole year I built a great relationship with him,” he said. “Even if he’s not here coaching with us, I still feel like I can text him, still hit him up, still learn from him. I feel like this whole year has been a great experience and I’m excited to keep working him in the future because I feel like if I continue to do that, the sky’s the limit.”
The Broncos filled Ware’s staff position last month by poaching Brandon Staley from Chicago to coach the OLBs. Fangio also will work with the positional group in addition to handling his head-coaching and defensive play-calling duties.
“Obviously, starting off, we have two good players on the outside,” he said during his introductory press conference. “Von Miller can be one of the rare players in this league, much like Khalil is. I’m looking forward to working with both of them. [OLB] Bradley [Chubb] is a guy that we had high grades on also in Chicago last year. I’m aware that he had a good season this year. That’s my position of expertise when I’m coaching a position, and those guys are going to get coached by their position coach, but they’re going to get a little extra from me too. We’re going to try to take them both to bigger and better levels. I think Von Miller can play even better than he’s played in his career.”