Despite a lack of much overall team success over the past decade or so, the Dallas Cowboys have had some serious Hall of Fame caliber players during the same time span.
At the very top of this list of all-time Cowboy greats sits DeMarcus Ware, the longtime Dallas pass rusher who tallied 117 sacks while wearing the star. When you are such a great player and person, like Ware has always been, you garner a ton of respect from your peers around the league.
We've all read countless quotes and articles about both opponents and teammates of Ware's who have discussed their admiration for him. Something you don't always hear about, however, is who the guy who is most respected by others, respected the most himself.
I know, that sounded a bit confusing as I tried to get clever, but hear me out.
Yesterday, Cowboys legend DeMarcus Ware published an article in The Player's Tribune, detailing the 5 toughest players he ever faced during his career. It's a bit of an unorthodox list, as it is not simply the 5 best offensive tackles Ware played against.
Instead, it seems to be the 5 greatest players he has ever seen over the course of his playing days.
Naming quarterback Tom Brady, offensive tackle Walter Jones, running back Adrian Peterson, and former teammate Von Miller as four of the top five, it was actually the fifth name which was most interesting to me.
That name, was former quarterback Michael Vick.
As soon as I read Vick's name on Ware's list, my mind immediately flashed back to 2006, late season Saturday night football on NFL Network. This was the first of a few times Ware would face off with Vick, as the quarterback would join him in the NFC East a few seasons later.
My first memory of this game was different from DeMarcus Ware's, however.
“He was right in front of me, and I stretched my arms out wide to go in for the tackle and wrap him up. I was waiting for that oomph — you know, that pad-to-pad sound when you hit a guy, knock a little wind out of him and he goes down.
But when I closed my arms, I got nothing but air.
I completely whiffed.”
Here, Ware details the first time he whiffed when trying to sack Vick, later saying that as he lied on the ground he couldn't believe that Vick was still up and running.
But as a Cowboys fan, my first memory of this “Ware vs. Vick” match up was when DeMarcus came out on the winning end of the play.
You know, this play.
So give yourself some credit, DeMarcus, because you got everyone on this list at least as much (if not more) as they ever got you.
DeMarcus Ware is absolutely a Cowboys legend, and will be in both the Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor one day. I highly recommend reading the well written article he put together for The Player's Tribune.