Have you ever spoken to a child who is burning to stay up late or go to the movies without his parents or basically do anything that is forbidden until you're older? If you have, there's probably been some point in the conversation where you've urged the child to simply enjoy being a kid because there's plenty of time for that other stuff and a limited time for all the great stuff you get to do when you're an anklebiter.
That speech should be dusted off and delivered to anyone who thinks that it is time to start talking about DeMarcus Ware's chances of going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ware's had an incredibly productive start to his professional career, and he's certainly building an impressive resume for inclusion among the greatest to ever don helmets and thrash about the football field. At the same time, though, he's played four seasons and anyone projecting that far into the future is just asking to be disappointed.
That's why an article in Wednesday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram surveying current Hall of Famers about Ware's Hall of Fame chances is about as silly an exercise as one could hope to read. Former Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett is just one of the guys who talks about Ware's chances, but his comments serve as a proper illustration of the nonsensical nature of the argument.
"Seeing him and knowing what he’s capable of as a football player, 10 years from now, if he continues at the rate he’s going, I don’t see why not. I don’t see why the conversation doesn’t come up. Looking at the standard that’s been set, he can match that standard."
The emphasis has been added here, because it's the only thing that matters when talking about the future. If he continues, if he stays healthy, if the Cowboys team plane doesn't crash on a snowy night in Philadelphia, if Ware doesn't disappear on an offseason trip to the Middle East ... Outside of Rudyard Kipling, it's hard to think of anyone who could be so interested in so many scenarios that start with the word if.
It should go without saying that there's a long list of athletes whose careers started with a shout and then ended with a whimper. The present is precious, especially in a world as fleeting as professional football. Enjoy Ware's career now, hopefully enjoy it for the next eight or nine years and then start worrying about what it will look like when it's over.