T. J. Ward
refer to caption
Ward with the Denver Broncos in 2014
No. 43, 25
Position:Strong safety
Personal information
Born: (1986-12-12) December 12, 1986 (age 34)
San Francisco, California
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:De La Salle
(Concord, California)
NFL Draft:2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 38
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:607
Forced fumbles:10
Fumble recoveries:4
Defensive touchdowns:3
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Terrell Ray "T. J." Ward Jr. (born December 12, 1986) is a former American football safety who played for eight seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oregon, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Ward also played for the Denver Broncos, with whom he won Super Bowl 50.

Early years

Ward played high school football at prep powerhouse De La Salle during their 151-game winning streak.[1] An injury early in his senior year deterred many scouts, leading him to walk-on with the Oregon Ducks.[2] He did not move up in the starting lineup until his senior year due to the talent on the team[3]

Professional career

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-yard shuttle 3 cone drill Vertical jump Standing long jump Bench press
5′ 10½ in. 211 lb. 4.48 s 1.67 s 2.75 s 4.12 s 7.00 s 34 in. 10′ 1″ 19 rep
All values from NFL Combine/Oregon's Pro Day[4]

Cleveland Browns


The Cleveland Browns selected Ward in the second round (38th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He signed his four-year rookie contract, worth US$4.02 million, on July 26, 2010.[5]

Throughout training camp, Ward competed against Mike Adams to be the starting free safety.[6] Head coach Eric Mangini named Ward the starting free safety to begin the regular season. He started alongside strong safety Abram Elam.[7]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Cleveland Browns’ season-opener at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and recorded 11 combined tackles (eight solo) during their 17-14 loss. On October 3, 2010, Ward recorded nine combined tackles during the Browns 23-20 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. During the fourth quarter, Ward was penalized for delivering a hit to the head of Bengals’ wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Shipley was carted off the field and was diagnosed with a concussion. On October 6, 2010, the league issued Ward a $15,000 fine for the hit that drew national attention and was widely criticized.[8] On November 21, 2010, Ward made five solo tackles, two pass deflections, and intercepted two passes during a 24-20 loss at the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11. Ward made his first career interception off a pass attempt by quarterback David Garrard, that was initially intended for wide receiver Mike Thomas, and returned it for a 16-yard gain during the third quarter.[9] In Week 14, he collected a season-high 12 combined tackles (ten solo) during a 13-6 loss at the Buffalo Bills.[10] He started all 16 games as a rookie in 2010 and recorded 123 combined tackles (95 solo), ten pass deflections, two interceptions, and one forced fumble.[11]


On January 4, 2011, the Cleveland Browns announced their decision to fire head coach Eric Mangini after they finished with a 5-11 record in 2010.[12] The Cleveland Browns hired Pat Shurmur as their new head coach and also hired Dick Jauron to replace Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. Head coach Pat Shurmur named Ward the starting strong safety to begin the regular season, alongside free safety Usama Young.[13] In Week 6, Ward collected a season-high eight combined tackles in the Browns’ 24-17 loss at the Oakland Raiders. On October 23, 2011, Ward made seven combined tackles, deflected a pass, and made his first career sack during a 6-3 win against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7. Ward made his first career sack on Seahawks’ quarterback Charlie Whitehurst for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter.[14] On November 6, 2011, Ward sprained his foot during a 30-12 loss at the Houston Texans in Week 9 and was inactive for the next six games (Weeks 10-15). On December 22, 2011, the Cleveland Browns officially placed Ward on injured reserve.[15] He finished the season with 39 combined tackles (28 solo), three pass deflections, and one sack in eight games and eight starts.[11]


Ward retained his role as the starting strong safety in 2012 and began the season alongside starting free safety Eric Hagg.[16] In Week 2, he collected a season-high nine combined tackles during a 34-27 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. On December 18, 2012, the Cleveland Browns placed Ward on injured reserve due to a knee injury.[17] Ward finished the 2012 NFL season with 68 combined tackles (50 solo), four pass deflections, three forced fumbles, one sack, and one interception in 15 games and 15 starts.[11] On December 31, 2012, the Cleveland Browns announced their decision to fire head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert after finishing with a 5-11 record.[18]

Ward with the Browns training camp in 2012


On January 11, 2013, the Cleveland Browns hired Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to be their new head coach.[19] Defensive coordinator Ray Horton retained Ward as the starting strong safety. Ward started alongside starting free safety Tashaun Gipson.[20] On October 3, 2013, Ward made five combined tackles, deflected a pass, and returned an interception for the first touchdown of his career during a 37-24 victory against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Ward intercepted a pass thrown by Bills’ quarterback Jeff Tuel, that was intended for wide receiver Robert Woods, and returned it for a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.[21] In Week 7, he collected a season-high 11 combined tackles (nine solo) during a 31-13 loss at the Green Bay Packers.[22] On December 15, 2013, Ward made nine combined tackles, deflected a pass, and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown during a 38-31 loss against the Chicago Bears in Week 15. Ward recovered a fumble by Bears’ tight end Martellus Bennett, that was forced by teammate Billy Winn, and returned it for a 51-yard touchdown during the third quarter. He started in all 16 games in 2013 and made 112 combined tackles (75 solo), five pass deflections, two interceptions, and 1.5 sacks.[11]

Denver Broncos

On March 11, 2014, Ward signed with the Denver Broncos on a four-year, $23 million contract.[23][24][25] On December 24, he earned a second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl.

Ward had 61 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and six passes defended in the 2015 NFL season. The Broncos finished with the #1 defense and a 12-4 record. In the Divisional Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ward recorded four tackles in a 23–16 victory. In the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, Ward had six tackles before having to leave the game with an ankle injury and did not return. The Broncos later went on to win the game 20–18. Ward returned to play in the Broncos 24–10 victory in Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers, where he recorded seven tackles, a pass defended, a fumble recovery, and an interception.[26][27] He was ranked 68th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[28]

On September 2, 2017, Ward was released by the Broncos.[29][30]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On September 3, 2017, Ward signed a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[31]

Arizona Cardinals

On October 1, 2020, Ward was signed to the Arizona Cardinals practice squad after being out of football the previous two seasons.[32] He was released on October 20.[33]

Ward announced his retirement on April 21, 2021.[34]

Personal life

Ward is the older brother of former Atlanta Falcons running back Terron Ward.[35]

See also


  1. ^ "Former De La Salle/Oregon safety T.J. Ward's long journey to Super Bowl 50 - MaxPreps". MaxPreps.com. February 6, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=529225
  3. ^ Ben Swanson, April 27, 2015. When I was Drafted. http://www.denverbroncos.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/When-I-was-drafted-TJ-Wards-story/516216c8-180c-4d87-9674-2ee9b3bb9c27
  4. ^ "T.J. Ward, DS #2 SS, Oregon". draftscout.com. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  5. ^ "Spotrac.com: T.J. Ward contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "Battering Ram, T.J. Ward, Strives To Be a Starter For Cleveland Browns Defense". bleacherreport.com. June 18, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "Ourlads.com: Cleveland Browns Depth Chart: 09/05/2010". Ourlads.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Report: T.J. Ward fined $15K by NFL". ESPN.com. October 6, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars - November 21st, 2010". Pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "NFL Player stats: T.J. Ward (2010)". NFL.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d "NFL Player stats: T.J. Ward (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  12. ^ "Browns fire coach Eric Mangini". ESPN.com. January 4, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ourlads.com: Cleveland Browns Depth Chart: 09/04/2011". Ourlads.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns - October 23rd, 2011". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "Cleveland Browns Safety T.J. Ward on injured reserve with sprained foot". Cleveland.com. December 22, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  16. ^ "Cleveland Browns' first depth chart for 2012 season released". Cleveland.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "Cleveland Browns: Transactions (2012)". ClevelandBrowns.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Pat Shurmur, GM ousted by Browns". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Browns name Rob Chudzinski coach". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "Ourlads.com: Cleveland Browns Depth Chart: 09/04/2013". Ourlads.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  21. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns - October 3rd, 2013". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  22. ^ "NFL Player stats: T.J. Ward (2013)". NFL.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  23. ^ Schefter, Adam. "Broncos are signing former Browns S TJ Ward, per sources". Twitter. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  24. ^ Wesseling, Chris (March 11, 2014). "T.J. Ward, Denver Broncos agree on contract". NFL.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  25. ^ "T.J. Ward signs with Broncos as Denver's new strong safety". DenverPost.com. March 11, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  26. ^ Garber, Greg (February 8, 2016). "Best and worst of Super Bowl 50". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  27. ^ Martin, Jill (February 8, 2016). "Super Bowl 2016: Broncos defense dominates as Peyton Manning wins second title". CNN.com. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  28. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 - No. 68 T.J. Ward
  29. ^ Sessler, Marc (September 2, 2017). "Broncos release former Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward". NFL.com.
  30. ^ Sessler, Marc. "Ward: Broncos 'unprofessional' with timing of release". NFL. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  31. ^ "Bucs signing T.J. Ward to 1-year deal worth up to $5M". NFL.com. September 3, 2017.
  32. ^ Urban, Darren (October 1, 2020). "Cardinals Sign Veteran Safety T.J. Ward To Practice Squad". AZCardinals.com.
  33. ^ Urban, Darren (October 20, 2020). "Cardinals Activate D.J. Foster To Practice Squad". AZCardinals.com. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  34. ^ Legwold, Jeff (April 21, 2021). "Former Broncos Pro Bowler T.J. Ward, part of Denver's 'No Fly Zone' secondary, announces retirement". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  35. ^ "It's another missed chance for a game-saving play for T.J. Ward: Browns Insider". Cleveland.com. January 12, 2019.

External links