Santa Rosa’s Scott Ware survived the Indianapolis Colts’ 2007 training camp.
All the practices. All four preseason games. At the end, he just had to survive three hours — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — on the final cut day. If a player was going to be cut, he’d be called between those hours.
Ware made it to 12:55 p.m. Five minutes from a dream. Then the phone rang.
“Absolutely devastating,” Ware said. “There’s no other words to describe it.”
A year later, Ware, 23, a former star safety at Santa Rosa Junior College and USC, is still waiting for the next call.
Ware knows it could come at any time.
At 9 a.m. on a Tuesday this past June, the New Orleans Saints called. He was on a flight to Louisiana three hours later. He was in New Orleans six hours after he’d been contacted.
The next day, he ran the 40-yard dash and went through some drills. Then he flew home. And never heard back from the Saints.
For the first time in a decade, Ware didn’t attend a training camp this summer. The dream is dying, but he’s still staying in shape. Just in case. He works out at Fifth Street Fitness in Santa Rosa, where he also works at the front desk, and he runs at University of Sports in Rohnert Park.
He was an All-American at SRJC. He was an all-Pac 10 selection at USC, where he won a national championship. He’s been on the Colts practice squad and picked off Peyton Manning in practice.
He’s played in seven NFL preseason games — three with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006 — but he’s currently at a crossroads.
He’s attending SRJC. A fire science class on Monday. A first responder class on Friday. He wants to be a fireman. He’s not planning on sitting at a desk. Not after playing football in front of 93,000 fans.
“For the last 10 years I had been in a training camp,” Ware said. “It’s something that’s kind of defined me for a long time. The football season is a time when I know I’ll see my family a lot because they’ll be coming to my games. This year was the first year it hadn’t happened. It’s a big shift. It’s tough right now. I’m transitioning back to real life but still holding on to that dream.”
Ware says he’s thought about other options — maybe playing in Canada or the Arena Football League.
He said he’d call me if something came up.
I hope that call comes. After someone has called Scott Ware.