DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has three Pro Bowls on his resume and gaudy sack numbers. He's earned team MVP honors in Miami, as well as a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards during his stint in the CFL.
But there is one thing the 32-year-old Wake is still chasing in his accomplished football career: a postseason appearance. Wake has never played a down in the NFL playoffs during his five-year NFL career. He arrived from the CFL to Miami in 2009, one year after the Dolphins last made the postseason. Since then, Miami has a record of 35-45 with zero winning seasons.
Wake doesn't want to be remembered as one of Miami's greatest players never to reach the postseason. As players get older, they get wiser and more reflective. Wake said he recently talked to his younger Dolphins teammates about urgency this year and having a win-now mentality.
"I’ve been here with great teams, great players, and I haven’t been to the playoffs once," Wake said disappointingly. “So I’m trying to profess how hard it is to win in this league. It takes so much -- that extra rep, that extra bench press, whatever it may be -- to make that happen.
“For me, as you know, it’s the thing that’s eluded me so far in my career. I’m trying to do everything I can personally and for the team to make that happen this year.”
Wake’s urgency was on display Saturday on the practice field. On a hot July practice, Wake had a strong day against Dolphins rookie right tackle Ja'Waun James.
Wake plowed through James in one-on-one drills and recorded a batted ball and a sack in team drills. Wake was a handful all practice for the rookie at a point in his career when Wake doesn't have to prove himself.
“He practices hard,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “I think the one thing I really appreciate about Cam Wake is -- obviously you want the performance and production on game day – but he does a great job in practice.”
The Dolphins need another big season from Wake. This is a big year for many in the organization, and Miami needs a healthy and productive Wake to wreak havoc on quarterbacks and provide leadership on defense.
Wake plays a physically demanding position, but part of his success is due to good nutrition. Wake stays in optimum shape and closely monitors his diet. That’s partially led to Wake recording 23.5 sacks the past two seasons after the age of 30.
“I’ve never looked at a number,” Wake explained. “I never said I want to play 10 years. Is that 10 years from school, because I’ve been out of school 10 years? So it’s hard to put that number out there.
“I just want to play for as long as I can, be successful and help whatever team, whatever situation I’m in win. How many more years is that? Who knows?”