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“Soft retirement” possible for DeMarcus Ware

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 21: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked on the one-yard line by defensive end DeMarcus Ware #94 of the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field on September 21, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 26-20 in overtime. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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Pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware has retired after 12 seasons in the NFL. That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a 13th.

Ware, a free agent, can return whenever he wants, for whomever he wants. Appearing on Tuesday’s PFT Live, Vic Lombardi of Altitude Sports Network in Denver suggested that it will be a “soft retirement” for Ware, with the player potentially returning at some point later this year.

Indeed, as of a week ago Ware was going to test the market. The offers he received (or didn’t receive) convinced him to announce his retirement via social media. Those offers, or the opportunities, could improve as time passes.

Lombardi said that Ware remains in great shape. Back issues have plagued him in recent years, but given the manner in which he performed down the stretch in 2015 (with 4.5 sacks in the team’s final four games), a contender come November could be interested in adding Ware to the mix, both for what he can do on the field and how he can mentor younger players.

Ware turns 35 on July 31, and if he spends the next several months getting himself as healthy and fit as possible, he could barnstorm into a hand-picked city with the goal of playing a handful of regular-season games, hitting his stride in the postseason, and potentially walking away with a championship like John Elway, Jerome Bettis, Michael Strahan, and Peyton Manning did.

Whatever Ware does, he’s already done enough to join each of them in Canton. With 138.5 career sacks (only one less than Jason Taylor) and a Super Bowl ring on his resume, Ware will he immortalized sooner than later. The only question his football career has reached its final life expectancy.