DeMarcus Ware strongly considered retirement in 2009 when he had a serious neck injury.
Ware is considered one of the NFL's two or three best defensive players, being voted to six Pro Bowls since he was the 11th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2005 Draft.
"You never think that you'll be the guy who's on the stretcher," said Ware. "It's usually a special teams guy, because they have those big impact hits. But the guys on offense and defense, we don't have enough speed built up to have that impact. When I went down, everything just stopped. I thought, "Why am I here?" I actually thought that my body was moving. I thought I was moving my arms, I thought I was moving my legs. But I wasn't. I couldn't move. Mentally, I was moving. But physically, I wasn't. I'm sitting there, just thinking. I was thinking, "I'm that guy." Everyone was watching me, just lying there, unable to do anything. I felt embarrassed, actually. They strapped me up, and I wasn't able to move my neck or arms or legs, but I said, "I'm alright. I'm alright." Then it finally hit me when they took my facemask off. When they took that facemask off, they took something out of me."
Ware considered walking away from the game, but not due to the physical pain.
"No, because I was scared. I was so scared. I started thinking about my family. I thought, "I might have to give football up." I really thought I might have to retire, because I just couldn't imagine going through something so traumatic again."