News broke Tuesday morning that Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware agreed to a restructuring of the final year on his two-year contract.
According to Field Yates of ESPN, Ware, 26, agreed to convert his base salary of $1.45 million to $750,000, lowering his cap hit while still affording him the opportunity to make the full salary by hitting attainable incentives. The move raises the likelihood that he makes the 53-man roster.
Ware, who practiced Monday and Tuesday of this week at Chiefs training camp, has looked strong on the field so far, showing little sign of the PCL and LCL injuries he suffered almost 11 months to the day.
The Chiefs training staff said Monday that Ware is still not yet cleared for contact, but all signs point to his full return being imminent.
“It’s just being comfortable around bodies,” Ware said, talking about his early training camp goals. “I got people out there, [so] I have to react more than having it already set up and I know exactly where I’m going ... it’s just getting that feel around those other bodies.”
In the NFL, 11 months is a long time, especially when you’re having to watch from the sideline.
Over that 11-month span, Ware lost his No. 1 running back job to 2017 draftee Kareem Hunt, and when he finally was able to return to the field this week, he did so on a roster with five other running backs, all vying for a potential spot.
The competition is real, but Ware is embracing it.
“Competition is competition,” Ware said. “Never shied away from competition, but my ultimate goal is to make my team better and to get better as a player to make myself more valuable to my team and let them be able to use me in any way that they can.”
When it came to discussing about his position on the team Tuesday, Ware seemed a bit suppressed. The feeling that he’d prefer to let his play do all the talking was palpable.
As much as he can manage, Ware is choosing tunnel vision rather than giving outside distractions any attention.
“We all have one common goal and that’s to win a Super Bowl,” he said. “First win the West in the AFC and then go on to the Super Bowl, so whatever we need to do.”
Worrying about how Hunt performs is not included in those plans.
“Personally, that’s Kareem. Personally, I have my goals. Personally, he has his goals, and all the other running backs are my competitors. Ultimately and collectively as a group, we have to go out there and if they put the ball in our hands we have to make something happen.”
Ware kept focus on his recovery during his long road back by tapping into his spirituality.
“Every time I score a touchdown, I throw up the fours,” he said. “To remind myself that it’s four phases of life, just like it is in this game that we’re playing. It don’t matter what phase you’re in, you have to keep going all the way until it’s over.
“That’s how I try to simplify it for myself and not overthink and overwhelm myself.”
To simplify things when he couldn’t train for parts of this offseason, Ware turned his attention to his clothing brand, Yes Lawd.
“I was pretty much involved with it—coming up with some new designs for the summer and just some things to uplift some people that may be going through some things and they have nothing that they believe in ... if it’s your creator, if it’s your work, your morals, your grind, your hustle—whatever it is, that’s you.”
Ware said he worked out in Yes Lawd clothing as a constant reminder of his goal—to be back in this position this week.
“When I get tired or I feel like I want to give up or it’s hurting, you just take a look down at yourself and you remember your why.
“Then you have to thank the Lord.”
Asked if offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and running backs coach Deland McCullough talked to him about his role on Tuesday, Ware stuck with his theme of keeping it simple.
“Just get your ass back,” they said, per Ware.