DeMarcus Ware, 8th all-time in sacks, announces retirement

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware announced Monday he is retiring at age 34 after 12 NFL seasons, saying in a tweet that "long-term health and quality of life outweigh the spark and passion to play that I once had."

"After a lot of thought and prayer, I've decided to accept the unknown and retire from my NFL career," Ware said in the Twitter post.

Ware came to the Broncos from the Dallas Cowboys as part of Denver's free-agency binge in 2014, when cornerback Aqib Talib, receiver Emmanuel Sanders and safety T.J. Ward were also signed. All four players were selected to at least one Pro Bowl since then.

Ware has been a team captain in his time with the Broncos and universally respected in the locker room. He said in the days before Super Bowl LI that he planned to return from back surgery that sent him to injured reserve just before the regular-season finale.

Back troubles have been a part of his career, but especially the past two seasons with the Broncos. His 2016 season was especially difficult, as he missed most of the offseason work with an infection in his back that required repeated IV antibiotics to treat. He also missed five games with a fractured forearm last season.

A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Ware will turn 35 in July and is eighth all time in sacks with 138½.

Ware needed one sack to tie newly minted Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, and with four sacks he would have passed Michael Strahan and moved into sixth place all time.

In nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware earned Pro Bowl honors every year from 2006 to 2012. But he had a career-low six sacks in 2013 and missed the first three games with a quadriceps strain. Dallas released him after the 2013 season.

With the Cowboys, Ware had a streak of seven seasons with at least 11 sacks, recording 20 sacks in 2008 and 19½ sacks in 2011.

The Cowboys selected Ware in the first round of the 2005 draft with the 11th pick.