DAVIE — Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is going to play his first career playoff game on Sunday.
And Wake is highly motivated for many reasons, none more than those who doubted him and his team.
Wake, 34, had 11.5 sacks in his return from a torn Achilles tendon last season.
“From the moment that the injury happened, I knew that the opportunity was there to be standing right where I am in front of you right now,” Wake said Friday. “So that goes back to what you were saying about people. I guarantee you there were people who wrote me off back then. But the same people who don’t know the Dolphins are the same people who don’t know me. Here we are. Here I am.”
This week, Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Wake is “an underdog in his mind.” It was a revealing remark to help explain the mentality Wake is taking into Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
Wake has been short at times with the media this season. But he gave a lenghty, interesting response when asked about Joseph’s comment.
“It starts from the beginning. I wasn’t the sought-after guy. I wasn’t the front-page story. Obviously I wasn’t drafted. I was kind of an in the back door, kick the door down way to get into where I am,” Wake said. “There was no silver spoon. There was nothing handed to me. So even to this day I had to fight and work for everything I have.
“And you know, I take that motivation with me every time I step onto the field. Where I got to with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But it continues to fuel me. There is no end. There is no complacency. There is no satistfaction. Everything that I’ve done and I want more and more and more. And I’d like to think that this helped me be successful.”
Dolphins players have been openly discussing how they’d like to win this game for Wake, who has played 115 games and recorded 81.5 sacks in his eight-year Dolphins career.
“When guys congratulate me I say, ‘Thank you, for doing everything possible to get us to where we are right now,'” Wake said. “It’s humbling. But do it for yourself. If that’s the motivation, I’ll take it. It’s hard to get to this position. It’s hard to win in this league. Do it for whatever your reason is. Just do it.”
Wake said he’s not too concerned about Miami’s status as a 10.5-point underdog.
“Week in and week out I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t have believed we are where we are,” Wake said. “So if we’ve gotten to this point and along the way nobody believed in us, why would I start caring now? When I didn’t care last week or the week before that or the week before that? I guess they’ve been wrong so I’m not going to start listening now.”
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