Spencer Ware Made the Most of His Opportunity With Chiefs

The former Seattle Seahawks RB originally signed with the Chiefs at the end of 2014

The Kansas City Chiefs held a 12-3 lead over the San Diego Chargers with just over 11 minutes remaining in their Week 11 game when starting running back Charcandrick West strained his hamstring.

With Jamaal Charles out for the season and Knile Davis inactive, head coach Andy Reid turned the running back duties over to Spencer Ware, who at that point had a combined 6 carries on the season and 9 for his career.

Five weeks prior, Ware was a member of the Chiefs practice squad. Nine months prior to that, he had still been looking for a job after having been released by the Seattle Seahawks.

An unknown, who, at the time, even the biggest Chiefs fan likely couldn't pick out in a line, was finally getting his chance after waiting a long time.

And he wasn't about to let it slip away.

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"I just wanted to make sure when I got that chance that I was prepared," Ware said in a conference call with the local media on Thursday, "When Charcandrick went down, it wasn't as far as how can I put myself on the map. I went out there and played my game and I figured, how can I best help my team right now?

"We still have a game to play. How do I finish this game without missing a beat from the starters? I just took it one step at a time and stuck to my preparation and it kind of worked itself out."

Ware finished the game with 96 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, and when West returned healthy, the two established a one-two punch that propelled the Chiefs to sweep the remainder of their games and clinch a postseason berth.

On Thursday afternoon, general manager John Dorsey and the Chiefs locked up that one-two punch by signing both Ware and West to contract extensions within hours of one another.

"Charcandrick and Spencer both stepped in and were very effective for us offensively last year," Dorsey said in a statement. "These guys have different styles and abilities, and together they provide us quality depth at the running back position."

Corresponding with their different styles on the field, West a shiftier back, while Ware could be described more so as a bruiser, the two offer very different personalities. West is always smiling and talking and tries to keep his teammates loose, while Ware is quieter and reserved.

But even despite those differences, the duo works. Originally training camp roomates, they talk frequently in the offseason and even spoke on Wednesday, the day before they were headed to Kansas City for the exact same reason.

"It was just one of those days where [West] called me and said 'What are you doing?'" Ware said. "I'm like 'I'm on my way to Kansas City.' Later on that day, it's funny, he's coming to Kansas City as well. So I kind of figured it was for the same thing."

On his conference call, West sounded as happy about Ware's contract as his own.

"To see a family member, a brother do well, it's a blessing to know that we're going to still be together," West said. "I almost cried tears of joy."

Ware explained that this is par for the course in the Eric Bieniemy-run Chiefs running back room.

"We're not real selfish," he said. "We're a team, we want to do the best for the team and that's all that matters. As far as your own success, everyone has their own goals and things that they're trying to accomplish personally. But as a team and as a unit, we have to come together, collectively, to try to reach that one goal, which is a championship."

A look at some of the top photos of Spencer Ware throughout the 2015 season

Ware finished the 2015 season with 403 yards rushing and a team-leading 6 touchdowns rushing. As offseason camps approach, Ware said he is spending time with his family in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, while training.

With the contract extension wrapped up, he also said he feels a sense of stability now, and more than anything, a refocus of his psyche to what he says matters the most to him—becoming the best possible football player he can be. 

"Now [with the contract], I can put more focus and emphasis on my skill set, on my craft and get better in those areas," he explained, "learn the offense more in-depth and learn to develop those relationships with not just my offensive lineman or the offensive unit, but [also] the entire locker room and the entire ball club and the whole team itself.

"It's a collective effort for everybody to do their job, and I feel like having that relationship with everybody and being able to focus on that aspect of the game can help and can carry over."

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