San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas recently changed his jersey number from 96 to 94. Why?
Ware—who retired in March with the 8th-most sacks in NFL history—recently got together with Thomas for a 90-minute workout at Impact Performance & Fitness in Southlake, Texas. The experience left such a good impression on Thomas that he wanted to pay homage to Ware by wearing his old number.
“It was a really cool experience to learn from him,” Thomas told the Sporting News. “He taught me some crazy stuff. His technique is amazing. I was trying to take it all in. I’m texting him so hopefully I can do it again sometime.”
Photo via Ware’s Instagram
Thomas actually reached out to Ware before rookie training camp to see if he’d be willing to work out with him. “When you get a rookie that’s mature [enough] to call a veteran and say, ‘Can you help me before rookie training camp?’ That was big,” Ware said on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
Shortly after their session together, Thomas called Ware and told him he was going to wear his number. “[He said], ‘DeMarcus, I’m going to wear No. 94.’ I’m like, oh, man, really? He’s like, ‘I’m going to emulate my game after you,” Ware said. “I told him I was a great player when I played, but I don’t want you to play like me. I want you to be better than me. So I’m going to show [you] some things that are going to get you to the next level.”
Thomas spent much of his childhood in Coppell, Texas—a suburb of Dallas. No doubt he grew up watching Ware rack up sacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Now his childhood idol is one of his mentors. How cool is that?