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How DeMarcus Ware opened a fitness center during a pandemic – Dallas Cowboys Blog

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TROPHY CLUB, Texas — As DeMarcus Ware walks around 3 Volt Fitness he envisions the center’s three different rooms bustling with activity. From the Lagree room that focuses on high-intensity, low-impact muscular endurance, to the cardio room filled with state-of-the-art Woodway treadmills, to the weight room that most would closely associate with the Dallas Cowboys‘ all-time leader in sacks (117 with Cowboys and 138.5 career).

From the concept, which he developed with fellow owners Angela Daniel and Randi Chapman, to completion, 3 Volt Fitness took about 18 months to finish. Opening any business, let alone a fitness operation, during the coronavirus pandemic is a tricky proposition. But the group never thought about shutting down or postponing the July 20 opening.

“I’ll never say I’m not going to make it because you’ve already lost with that mentality. I just say, ‘I accept the challenge.’ When I played, I accepted the challenge of a new opponent and knew what I needed to do to make sure that I’d win. It’s the same in business. I’m going to research what I need to improve on, what I needed to get better at. It’s like preparing for a game every day,” Ware said.

The Cowboys’ 2005 first-round pick (No. 11 overall), who played nine seasons for Dallas and three for the Denver Broncos including winning Super Bowl 50, searched for his next career after retiring from the NFL in 2016. At that time he was 34 and considered old in the NFL. But in the real world, he was young again.

Ware dabbled with some television work. He was a silent partner in some gyms in Dallas and Denver. He lent his name to other projects, but he kept coming back to fitness. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he rented out a car dealership that was not in use and held workouts with teammates and players across the league. He built a gym in his garage where he would train and mentor players.

“It’s what I know,” Ware said.

He had to learn about the finer details of how the body works to be successful in the fitness industry. He knew about the body from first-hand experience, too. Buried inside a box in his house, Ware has papers documenting the 51 injuries he suffered during his 12-year pro career.

“I remember my last year playing, I couldn’t hardly walk,” Ware said. “I said, ‘I don’t want my life to be like this.’ I just wanted to be healthy and I got to that point and I started thinking, ‘How did I do it?’ because I know there’s a lot of other people out there in pain, they don’t want to work out, they’re not motivated. I wasn’t motivated. … But then I got back to what made me me, and that’s fitness. It was like a light bulb went off.”

Ware recently became a certified personal trainer, and he is in the process of earning certificates as a nutrition coach, a correction exercise specialist and a performance-enhancement specialist.

“He wants to be involved,” said Chapman, who first worked with Ware while with SportsTrust Advisors in Atlanta. “He doesn’t want to be one of these owners that doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s, ‘If I have to ring somebody up, I want to know. If someone needs to clock in, I want to know how to do it.’ Some owners give money to someone and that’s it. He said he wanted to be involved every step of the way.”

Ware, 38, hopes to lead the 45-minute sessions in the various rooms at 3 Volt, but for now he is content to take the classes and help out.

“Somebody said the floor was slippery, so I came in and mopped it up and they said, ‘Oh, thank you so much,'” Ware said. “I took my mask off and they [said], ‘Oh, that was DeMarcus. He just mopped the floor.'”

When Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, he famously said he would be involved in everything from “socks to jocks,” when it came to all aspects of the franchise. Ware is taking a similar approach with 3 Volt. During his nine-year run with the Cowboys, Ware spoke with Jones often and it was rarely about football — their conversations involved business and smart investing practices.

As Ware turned 3 Volt into a reality, he had numerous conversations with Jerry Jones Jr., the Cowboys’ chief sales and marketing officer, and Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness. Jones and Mastrov partnered to open a fitness operation called Cowboys Fit at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

“There was a lot of what you should do and what you shouldn’t,” Ware said of the advice he received.

Cleanliness already was at the top of Ware’s list of concerns before the country was affected by the pandemic, but it has been emphasized even more so now. There are high-tech air filtration systems in each room of 3 Volt. To maintain social distancing, spaces for each workout session have been limited. After a piece of equipment is used, it gets wiped down, and following each class, the room and equipment are sanitized again. Masks are required upon entrance and temperatures are taken as a precaution.

“I want us to go above and beyond when it comes to this,” Ware said.

In the first 12 days after opening, 3 Volt sold out its 50 founding memberships and has added more members since. Ware’s long-term goal is to open more fitness centers in the Dallas and Denver areas.

They will all have the same boutique feel, but there will be something they won’t feature.

Nowhere in the facility is anything that sparks memories of the career that one day will land Ware in the Hall of Fame.

“It won’t be a success just throwing your name on something,” Ware said. “I think what makes something really work is to see the person that’s part of it working. You’re not just a propaganda guy. They have to know this is you.”

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Colts’ Jacoby Brissett says he knows he’ll start at QB again somewhere

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INDIANAPOLIS — Jacoby Brissett might never start another game at quarterback for the Colts. But in his mind, he believes he’ll be a starter again in the NFL at some point down the road after he failed to hold on to the job in Indianapolis in 2019.

Brissett said he was surprised when coach Frank Reich gave him the news last winter that they were replacing him with veteran Philip Rivers as the starter. Reich acknowledged that Brissett, like any other player would be, was upset by the demotion.

“I still believe in myself,” Brissett said Friday in his first public comments since Rivers’ arrival. “I know I’m a starter in this league. I know I can play at a high level. I did it last year.”

Brissett became the starter when Andrew Luck announced his retirement two weeks before the regular season last year. The Colts gave Brissett a two-year contract, allowing him the opportunity to prove he could be the next franchise quarterback.

Brissett, however, didn’t consistently play at a level needed to lead a team to the playoffs last year. He started strong in leading the Colts to a 5-2 record, including victories over playoff teams Houston, Tennessee and Kansas City. But Brissett, who suffered a knee injury at Pittsburgh in early November, faltered down the stretch as the Colts lost seven of their final nine games to miss the playoffs.

He finished 29th in the NFL with 196.1 yards per game and was hesitant to take shots down the field.

General manager Chris Ballard gave an indication a change was going to occur when he said the jury was still out on Brissett at the end of last season. Rivers is a 38-year-old veteran who has passed for 59,271 yards and 397 touchdowns in his 16-year career. Brissett said he still plans to compete even though Rivers is now the starter.

“I really can’t say enough positive [things] about how he has been with this change, I guess — I don’t know another word for it, with me being here and also how he has just been,” Rivers said. “He’s an impressive guy to be around. The way he works at it and then how helpful he’s been with little things, ‘Here’s how we signal this. Here’s how I usually set that. Here is how I set that.’ Then the few things that I’m like, ‘Gosh, can we do this? Can we do that?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ll learn it. Whatever you are most comfortable with.’ So he has been super helpful, gracious.”

Brissett still has significant value to the Colts. Reich has said they plan to have special packages for Brissett to get him onto the field this season. And Brissett has to be ready to step in and start at any moment, especially with the uncertainty when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brissett, like Rivers, will be a free agent at the end of this season. “I know I’ll be a starter in this league one day again,” Brissett said. “Wherever that may be.”

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NFL training camp 2020 – Teams take the field in pads; Cowboys rookie makes play of the day

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A few teams took part in padded practices at 2020 NFL training camps on Friday, including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. In some cases, it was the first chance for our NFL Nation reporters to get a look at the rookie draft picks in their uniforms. The day also produced a few highlights from drills, as well as news on the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.

Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league for Aug. 14:

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Patriots’ Cam Newton makes good first impression on Bill Belichick “Cam’s a hardworking kid. He really is,” Belichick said Friday morning. Newton’s introduction to the Patriots’ system since officially signing July 8 is one of the most compelling storylines of training camp. Several teammates have noted the energy that Newton, 31, has brought to the team.

Dalvin Cook says he’s ‘full go’ with Vikings despite no new deal
Three days ahead of the Vikings’ first padded practice of training camp, Cook vowed to participate in Monday’s session with or without a contract extension. “I’ll for sure be out there coaching, cheering, running the ball,” Cook said. “I’m locked up full go, a thousand percent. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to lead this young group that we’ve got.”

Baker Mayfield says ‘I lost myself’ in Browns’ chaos last season
The Browns quarterback said he’s now in a better state both physically and mentally and admitted to losing his way and doubting himself last year amid the chaos in Cleveland. “Having success all through high school and college, and having that standard so high, and then [last year] not nearly as much success as I’m used to — so I would say I lost myself,” said Mayfield.

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What our NFL Nation reporters saw and heard today

CeeDee Lamb had the play of the day at Dallas Cowboys camp with a one-handed catch over his head on a high pass near the sideline. The rookie also had a fumble later on as he turned upfield, but the first -rounder was noticeable even in an OTA-type practice. He even served as one of the punt returners, which is a sign the Cowboys want to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.

“He’s the same guy I’ve been watching on TV the past two, three years,” Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. “I mean, he’s very focused, very fast, man, and he’s just getting comfortable. I can’t wait to see what he has in store being around so many veteran wide receivers.” — Todd Archer

The Kansas City Chiefs held their their first practice in pads and wasted no getting to the run game. The first practice period in full team drills was centered on the run, with rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire first in line as the featured back. Here’s what coach Andy Reid said about Edwards-Helaire:

“He’s been doing a lot of work with the first group. That’s valuable work for him. Is everything perfect? No, not right now. But he’s working like crazy to get there.” — Adam Teicher

For the first time in the three days since the media was allowed to observe camp, the Las Vegas Raiders‘ offense went against the defense in non-padded drills. Rookie Damon Arnette was a starting cornerback in both nickel and the 4-3 base defense. On offense, the Raiders opened in 11 personnel, and rookie Bryan Edwards, rather than first-round pick Henry Ruggs III, was a starting wideout, along with Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor. Not much should be made of this … yet.

And while the Raiders did see the return of defensive end Maxx Crosby on Friday from the COVID-19 reserve list, neither running back Josh Jacobs nor right tackle Trent Brown practiced for the third straight day, though coach Jon Gruden insisted neither of them was “out,” per se. “The head coach gets to make a decision or two and you’ll see those guys soon enough,” Gruden said. “They’re not out; they’re working. You just don’t see them.” The Raiders are off on Saturday but return Sunday. — Paul Gutierrez

Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams believes the two additions to the defensive line — Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe — will help a run defense that allowed 217 yards in the playoff loss to the Titans. “I’ve got the twin towers right next to me –those two giants,” Williams said. “I don’t see how offenses can come at us, man. Those two dudes are good.” — Jamison Hensley

When the Green Bay Packers step on the field, most probably consider Kevin King to be the No. 2 cornerback behind rising star Jaire Alexander. But it was actually King who led the team in interceptions last season (five to Alexander’s two, although King dropped two others). And it doesn’t bother King if he’s labeled as CB2.

“No, look, I ain’t got no problem with that,” King said Friday. “People are going to think what they’re going to think, but when you’re out there on that field, it’s two No. 1s. It’s going to be hard to go to the left side. It’s going to be hard to go to the right side. The film is going to speak for itself for sure. Ja has established himself as one of the elite corners in this league, and I’m right there too. A few more healthy seasons, one more healthy season, and I’m going to establish myself as well.” — Rob Demovsky

With no preseason games or joint practices, one of things Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia has been considering is how to handle hitting when it comes to training camp practices. He doesn’t want the first time his players face real contact to be in the season opener against the Bears next month, so he has been trying to figure out ways to work it into practices over the next few weeks.

“You need to feel it; you need to see it; you need the see the speed of it. The question is: How do we do that in a safe environment?” Patricia said. “Certainly from the preseason games, that’s where you get your live-action in there with the tackling part of it. But we’re going to have to do that, and I think for us, it’s putting them in, we call it in-line situations, where maybe the collision and the contact isn’t as great and it’s a little bit of a safer play and try to eliminate some of the more space and speed type of plays. But they still need to feel that — they need to be able to drive through and just get that out of the way.” — Michael Rothstein

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash, who has had the job since 2016, says he is going to be more hands-on with the defensive line this season because of the glut of new guys and the loss of Calais Campbell (who was traded to Baltimore). He also said he’s going to lean on defensive tackle Abry Jones, the longest-tenured player on the roster, to replace the vocal leadership the defense lost when Campbell was traded.

“The first day that we had the vets in the building, Abes and I sat down — eight years ago I was coaching Abes, so we have a very good relationship — and I said, ‘It’s time. It’s time for you to really take control. I know before you were a vocal guy in that room, but I think Calais was really the leader in that group and now we’re putting that on [pass-rusher] Josh [Allen] even though he’s a young player.’ But him and Abes really need to step up and lead that group.” — Michael DiRocco

There were two things that Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule was proud of on Friday after his team completed its first “competitive” practice of camp. First, Carolina is one of a handful of NFL teams that hasn’t had a player test positive for COVID-19. Rhule is realistic enough to know that will happen at some point, but for the timing being he’s comfortable with the protocol and doesn’t see the need for a bubble system even though there is a hotel available for players who want to use it. Second, the energy in practice has been good across the board, and the top players have stepped up so far in leadership roles. Rhule’s also realistic to know the key is what happens on Monday when the pads go on. “What you do with helmets and shells is one thing. Once you put the pads on it’s a different thing,” Rhule said. — David Newton

The Tennessee Titans took the field for the first time as a group on Friday. Despite the muggy, humid weather, practice was up-tempo and productive. Coach Mike Vrabel made his rounds, working with almost every position group during the individual period. Safety Kenny Vaccaro left midway through practice and didn’t return. Vaccaro walked into the building without a limp. The Titans safeties are an area of depth with Vaccaro, Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker and Dane Cruikshank. Safeties coach Scott Booker said he could see the Titans using big nickel (three-safety looks) in the sub packages. — Turron Davenport


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Washington’s Reuben Foster pondered the end of his career after injury

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The first time linebacker Reuben Foster stepped on the field for Washington almost wound up being the last time. After tearing multiple ligaments and suffering nerve damage in his foot, he battled thoughts of whether his career might be over.

“It still goes through my mind,” Foster said Friday during his first news conference since Washington claimed him off waivers in November 2018.

But Foster has returned to the field, as Washington activated him off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday. He’s gone from wondering if he’d play again to now pondering what he can contribute.

“My focus is so powerful right now I’m not trying to fall back. I’m trying to step forward,” Foster said on Zoom. “It’s scary when you go back and you see everything going down, bro. It’s scary, real scary.”

Foster tore his left ACL and LCL on the first snap of his first organized team activity session in May 2019. It was later learned that he also lost feeling in his toes and needed the nerves to regenerate. That led to Washington being uncertain when — and even if — he’d be able to play again.

Even Foster had questions during his first practice this summer.

“I was focused on my leg, and I was like, ‘Dang, am I the same again? Will I ever be the same? Will I ever be that type of caliber guy?'” Foster said.

Washington claimed Foster two days after the San Francisco 49ers released him following a second arrest for domestic violence against the same woman. Foster was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list for the final five games, but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges — as did the judge in the first case.

“I learned a lot,” Foster said of the experience, “but right now I’m not even worrying about all of that. I’m keeping it in the rearview mirror. I’m looking to the future and looking on bigger things.”

But going through that — and dealing with a severe injury — did impact him.

“I’ve grown a lot. Just being humble, vulnerable, understanding for a lot of things of life,” Foster said. “But … it’s hard to explain. I just know my drive to get back on the field was insane.”

Foster said he wasn’t focused on how others perceived him after his time in San Francisco.

“To know Reuben is to love Reuben,” he said. “That’s all I have to say. I love myself and always keep myself happy.”

While former coach Jay Gruden had lobbied Washington to take Foster with the No. 17 pick in 2017, it was San Francisco who drafted him at No. 31. He started 10 games at inside linebacker as injuries limited his rookie season, and started only six games in 2019 after the 49ers moved him outside.

Washington, who sees Foster as an outside linebacker in its base 4-3 front, has been pleased with him thus far. Foster was reunited with a handful of Alabama teammates, including linebacker Ryan Anderson, who is one of his best friends.

Coach Ron Rivera wasn’t with the team when Foster was claimed, but he did have a talk with him in the offseason.

“The one thing Reuben has shown since I’ve been here, is that he is doing things the right way,” Rivera said. “He is doing things the way we need him to do and he has been excellent. He really has. He’s done great things in terms of his rehab. He’s done a great job in terms of working with our coaches. Here’s a guy who needed a change of scenery. I think that may be one of the things that has truly benefited him.”

Rivera hopes Foster can follow the path of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who tore his ACL and suffered nerve damage while playing in a bowl game for Notre Dame. Smith went from a possible top-5 pick to No. 34 and sat out his rookie season with Dallas.

Last year, Smith signed a six-year deal worth up to $68 million because of how well he’s played since his recovery.

“That’s what we’re hoping for, for Reuben,” Rivera said. “An opportunity to get back on the field and prove that he’s back, and that he’s the kind of guy we hope he can be for us. He can be a very big asset, just because of his ability to make plays, his explosiveness. When you have a guy like that, that has that kind of ability and he’s back, it can be a very good thing.”

Foster said that, despite being unable to play for nearly two years, he’s never lost his appreciation for the game.

“I’m crazy for this game,” Foster said. “I feel like God put me right here and dropped me like this and said, ‘This is the football child.’ I love this game. I’ll never take it for granted for a minute.”

Foster said he’s also tried to improve his health by changing his diet. He said he’s learned to cook, serving up swordfish five times a week while adding a rack of lamb or ribs every so often.

What he wants most is an injury-free season to finally show what he can do.

“I’m still a thumper. I’m still a hard hitter,” Foster said. “I’ve just got to be confident in my play style and everything will come.”

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