Spencer Ware gets it.
He was injured last year before his season could even begin, and his injury was rare. And yes, that injury (that happened in August of 2017) is still keeping him from Kansas City Chiefs OTA practice now in June 2018.
To make matters worse, while he was gone, a rookie emerged and took his job.
“It was pretty tough,” Ware said of watching the team from the sidelines last season. “It was pretty tough because I’m a team player, so I like to do anything my team likes me to do, and they ask me to do anything, I [couldn’t] do anything.”
Ware was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 but was later released in August 2014. Ware was “on the street” and out of football from August to late December of that year, when he finally found a home with the Chiefs.
In Kansas City, Ware was called up from the practice squad in 2015 as a second back when Jamaal Charles went down due to injury, and he followed that season up with by far the best year of his career in 2016, when he finished with 1,368 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns.
2017 was in line to be a full season in which he was the guy. What he got were zeroes on his stat line across the board.
There are two options in times like these when you fall: you can get down on yourself and crumble, or do everything in your power to get back up.
Ware’s official Twitter page indicates he has chosen the latter.
A week after posting a video of his progress, Ware tweeted: “Fear NOTHING. Attack EVERYTHANG! -Eric Berry #YESLAWD”
If that last part sounds unfamiliar, “YES LAWD” is Ware’s personal sub-collection of the apparel and lifestyle brand of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode. The “YES LAWD” expression is used by both Ware and Lynch, and it intends to reflect feelings of good fortune, being blessed and happiness.
On Thursday, Ware could be seen on the sidelines continuing rehab and listening to coaches, but he has yet to officially return to practice. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid provided an update:
“He’s actually been out every day (this week), but without any of his stuff,” Reid said. “He’s staying on top of it. He’s champing at the bit and this drives him crazy. You know how he’s wired. So he wants to do everything, every snap and he just has to make sure he’s all right.”
Ware’s new quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has noticed how hard Ware has been working to get back.
“I get here early and he’s in here working,” Mahomes said. “He’s trying to make sure his body is right. He’s trying to get back as fast as possible and to see him and the things he does in the indoor when he’s working the trainers. He’s grinding and I’m excited for him.”
Reid added that he expects the sixth-year running back to be “all right” by training camp, and that is welcomed news for the Chiefs and Ware.
When he finally is able to return, he will do so to the Chiefs’ most crowded running back room in years.
But Ware is a player used to adversity.
It’s difficult to get back into the league when it kicks you out (2014), and it’s difficult to recover from the type of injury that doesn’t have a vast case history (2017).
To get through this next challenge—proving himself again—I expect Ware to rely on the things he always has: his skill set, his competitiveness and his faith.
“I have my faith in the Lord, that’s why I rock [the YES LAWD clothing line],” Ware added earlier this offseason. “Every time I look down at my chest, I have something to believe in just like everyone else. Everyone knows when I score my touchdowns, I throw the fours up.
“Some may not know what that means, but it’s significant to me because in life, you go to simplify it. No matter what you’re going through, there’s always a way out.”