Back in 2009, Miami Dolphins legendary defensive end Jason Taylor returned from a one-year stint with the Washington Redskins. He would spend the 2010 year with the New York Jets before one final season back with the Dolphins, retirement, and eventual enshrinement in Canton as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That 2009 season, while it was headlined by the return of Taylor, also featured another defensive end joining the Dolphins.
Signed out of the Canadian Football League, Cameron Wake came to Miami over 16 other teams that were interested in adding him. The former undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2005, Wake had transformed from the unheralded linebacker Derek into Cameron, a two-time CFL Defensive Player of the Year pass rushing phenom. And, while Jason Taylor was ending a Hall of Fame career, Wake was just starting one that could land him in the same place.
In ten seasons, Wake solidified his place as the face of the Miami defense. He is a legend of this franchise, while still playing. He is a lock for the Ring of Honor. He should be in consideration - along with Taylor and linebacker Zach Thomas - for players who should have their numbers retired for the Dolphins. And, he has an argument for the Hall of Fame one day.
Sadly, it appears Wake’s final seasons, his final plays, his final sacks, will come with the Tennessee Titans and not in South Florida, but it does not change the fact that Wake is a Dolphins legend. Wake average 9.8 sacks per season during his time in Miami, and is second in team history in sacks, trailing just Taylor. Wake was named to the Pro Bowl five times and was a First-Team All-Pro selection once, along with three Second-Team selections - not bad for a player who was out of the game for two years before finding his way to the CFL.
Taylor was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, with three First-Team All-Pro selections and one Second-Team. Taylor average 9.3 sacks per season over his 15 year career.
Wake is two sacks shy of acheiving 100 for his career. He should reach that mark next year with the Titans. He should be a discussion for the Hall of Fame, but he may not be able to reach that lofty height, in no small part because the Dolphins never won with Wake in the defense. That was not because of Wake, but it will be a hit against his resume when discussion start five years after he retires.
His place in Canton may not be a guarantee, but his place among the all-time Dolphins is. Wake gave it his all every time he stepped on the field - including still trying to sack Tom Brady after the defensive end’s Achilles tendon had ruptured. Wake will always be a Dolphins legend.
Thank you Cameron Wake. We will always love you.