KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many wonder how the Chiefs offense may change with Spencer Ware returning as the featured running the backfield in the wake of the sudden departure of Kareem Hunt, but Ware says his past body of work says everything you need to know.
“My film is my resume,” Ware said. “You see what I do on film for the time that I've been here in Kansas City. I'll continue to play my type of ball.”
Ware's return to the starting lineup marks a stunning comeback for the team's leading rusher in 2016. He rushed for 921 yards that season and added another 447 yards receiving. He entered the 2017 as the incumbent with rookie Hunt, a third-round draft pick, his likely backup.
But a devastating knee injury during a preseason game in Seattle wiped away his season before it began. Ware damaged the posterolateral corner of his right knee, often called the “dark corner” of the need. The injury torn his posterior cruciate ligament and damaged other ligaments and tendons in the knee. Comebacks from the injury are few and far between. Head coach Andy Reid confessed doubts to whether Ware would play again.
“He told me all the time he was going to make it back,” Reid said. “But I think once he got out there where he was able to cut on it and really put significant weight on it and then plant and go. And then the next step was getting hit and continuing to push through that without hesitation. I’ll probably tell you the first time I saw him, those two things when he cut and got hit, would be the one.”
Ware set benchmarks for himself this season, and thus far he's met them all. He didn't set a goal of getting back to 100 percent, but rather set his sights on getting better. Back in the No. 1 role, he feels the same in the offense as he did two seasons ago.
“Nothing's changed,” he said. “Make big plays and score touchdowns. Win games. Win games. Second effort goes a long way. Just fight for one another.
Ware spent the first 12 games of the season in a backup role, picking up 22 carries for 167 yards. He planned to backup Hunt again against Oakland, picking up about 10 percent of the first-team snaps during practice. He wound up with 14 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown.
The only challenge against the Raiders, he explained, was building up his endurance.
“Just getting pounded and pounded throughout the course of the game, 60 minutes,” Ware said. “I haven’t done that in a while. That was the big adjustment.”
This week, Ware goes into practice knowing he will see the majority of work in the backfield.
“That’ll help,” Reid said. “He rotates in there anyways, even before. The majority of them will help.
Longtime teammate Charcandrick West, who rejoined the club this week, said Ware's journey back from the injury to the starting lineup serves as inspiration.
“A lot of people wiped him off the map because of injury,” West said. “But he worked hard, he had guys, a great training staff, a great team, a great support system and now he's back starting. Another wonderful story of never give up.”