DeMarcus Ware’s touching tribute means everything on emotional night

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DeMarcus Ware gave an emotional speech during the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony (Image: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DeMarcus Ware gave an emotional speech during the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony (Image: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Former NFL star DeMarcus Ware gave an emotional speech after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ware was part of the 2023 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The enshrinement ceremony took place in Canton, Ohio, at the Tom Benson Stadium to a capacity crowd.

He was not the only NFL great to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. Ware was joined by offensive tackle Joe Thomas, linebackers Zach Thomas and Chuck Howley, cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Ken Riley and Ronde Barber, coach Don Coryell, and defensive lineman Joe Klecko.

The 41-year-old was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 with the No.11 overall pick. He would go on to spend nine years in Texas, before three seasons with the Denver Broncos before retiring in 2016.

The former linebacker won the Super Bowl in 2015 with the Broncos. Ware also earned nine Pro Bowl selections and is now officially among the sport's greats in the Hall of Fame.

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During his speech, Ware recounted an emotional story where he said he was assaulted during his college days. Ware told how, during his time at Troy University in Alabama, an incident in a parking lot would go on to serve as motivation for his career in the NFL.

“Often there is something in our life that pushes us to make a real change,” Ware told the crowd in his speech. “For me, that one single frightening moment was when I was in college.

“I was attending a parking lot party when I was visiting home, my uncle was in his car and, without warning, was knocked across the head with a gun.

"A knife dropped to the ground and I picked it up. And when I looked up, all I could see was the potential shooter's eyes and a gun barrel pressed against my head. All I heard was my family say, 'Don't kill him.'

"There was an eerie silence after which I simply said, ‘This isn't me,' and I dropped the knife. At that moment I knew God gave me a second chance and I had to do something with it.

“That was my turning point. The memories of those parking lot lights and the sounds of those screams, 'Don't kill him,' became the fire that empowered me. You can imagine how many years that night echoed in my head.

“When I trained I was motivated by those parking lot lights. And when I ran onto the field and the crowd cheered, those memories of those screams began to fade.”

Mark Wakefield

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