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Arrington on Wake: 'He's like Cinderella Man'

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Former Penn State and NFL star LaVar Arrington was knocking around the Buffalo Bills' facility Sunday with his protégé, Aaron Maybin.

Arrington has been mentoring him for years. Maybin was in middle school when he met the three-time Pro Bowler, so one could understand why Arrington was wearing a Bills T-shirt a day after they made Maybin the 11th overall pick in the draft.

I'll have more on Maybin and his inner circle later this week, but I also had the opportunity to ask Arrington about another Penn State pass-rusher who's entering the AFC East this year.

The Miami Dolphins in January signed Canadian Football League sackmaster Cameron Wake, who played under the name Derek Wake at Penn State.

Wake arrived at Happy Valley with comparison's to Arrington, who turned pro the year Wake got there. Wake, however, left Penn State undrafted. He got into banking, then personal training and had to reinvent himself with the BC Lions, recording 31 sacks in two seasons.

The Dolphins signed him to a four-year, $5 million deal, the richest contract ever given to a CFL import.

"That's a heck of a story," Arrington said. "He's like Cinderella Man. That's one of those stories where you've got to say 'Man, if you don't believe that dreams can come true, then he's one of those you have to look at.'

"He has to say 'If I didn't go that extra mile, if I didn't work a little bit harder, I actually cheated myself out of possibly realizing my dream.' That personifies what he represents."

Arrington remains blown away by Wake's athleticism, but pointed to a lack of dedication that often drew Joe Paterno's ire.

"He went there and was athletic as all get-out," Arrington said. "There never was a question about his athletic ability. It was a question about his desire and his intensity.

"What happened from that time when he left Penn State to when he started playing in Canada, I don't know. But it wasn't the same man. It's not the same guy. That's pretty awesome that he's getting an opportunity to play in the NFL after all that."