photo courtesy NY Times
In my experience, almost without exception, when an athlete signs his "deal of a lifetime'' - and that's what this six-year, $78,000,000 (and 1) deal with the Cowboys represents for DeMarcus Ware - his mind whizzes through three phases of realization:
One, he thinks about his family.
Two, he thinks about his legacy.
And three, he thinks about what crazy-stupid thing he's going to buy.
In the second of Blogging The Boys' two-part exclusive interview with the new possessor of the largest contract in Cowboys history (part 1 is here), I learn that DeMarcus' "three phases of realization'' regarding his money are just like everybody elses ... except for that third crazy-stupid phase.
PHASE 1 - He thinks about his family:
"I thought of all the sacrifices parents make for their kids, yes, that's the first thing,'' Ware tells me. "And then along with that, what I am able to now do for my family. My two girls (wife Taniqua and daughter Marley) are my princesses. I am so glad to be able to provide for them.
"When people talk about ‘the overpaid athlete' - and I am certainly aware that this amount of money is a lot of money - I like to think about the sacrifices, about the number of people who have helped me get to this place, about the people I can now help because of my salary. In that sense, I've earned the contract and will continue to earn the contract because I see it as an honor and a privilege to be rewarded for the work I put in ... and for the work my family and my loved ones put into me.''
you're the player, you've put in the work and you've put in the time, and we're going to show you how appreciative we are for what you do.'"
PHASE 2 - He thinks about his legacy:
"How can you not?'' Ware says. "This is ‘America's Team.' The tradition is there. The groundwork and the history is there. ... "I think it would be a mistake to think, ‘Oh, I've got it made now.' I think now is when the work really begins. There's kind of a legacy that goes with this kind of contract, you know?''
Ware has a relationship with Charles Haley, and seems to have awareness of other Cowboys greats in whose footsteps he follows. ... Randy White, Too Tall Jones, Harvey Martin, Bob Lilly. ...
"There is a sort of pressure that comes with this, I know that,'' Ware says. "Sometimes the (salary) number gets attached to the player, like they become identified together. I don't want that; I'd rather be identified by what I do on the football field. ...
"But as far as pressure is concerned, there was already pressure. There is pressure because of the legacy that was created in Dallas long before I got here. So I really welcome that.''
PHASE 3 - He thinks about the crazy-stupid thing he's going to buy:
I noted in the first part of our interview that DeMarcus needs a new watch; his $50 Fossil runs 33 minutes slow. But beyond that? A boat? A plane? A getaway in Monaco? How about some white tigers as pets?
"Naw, I don't know,'' Ware says, laughing.
"What do you mean you ‘don't know'?'' I reply. "You mean you haven't thought of this? Haven't thought of that silly thing you've always wanted, that frivolous, impractical thing that you can now buy, guilt-free? How about a Bentley?''
"No,'' Ware says. "I've already got a car. A Denali truck. I like it fine. You know, I'm a ‘dirty driver.' A rough driver. So I don't need a fancy car.''
Ware says maybe Taniqua will want a new car, but as of Monday, they hadn't discussed any such thing. Of course, baby daughter Marley might want something, but Ware already spoils her.
"Her bedroom really does look like she's a real princess,'' he says.
I'm out of ideas. I go back to the car theme.
"Yeah, maybe ... maybe I'll buy some new wheels for my Denali,'' Ware says.