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Saturday, August 31, 2013
Cameron Wake reflects on release by Giants

By James Walker

MIAMI -- On Thursday, I wrote an in-depth piece on Cameron Wake's unconventional journey to NFL stardom. It is recommended reading if you missed it. Here is the full story link.

But one part of Wake's journey that I didn't get to elaborate on was his brief tryout and release by the New York Giants. Wake signed with New York as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005.

Wake made it through organized team activities and minicamp before getting cut in June. Disappointingly, Wake never made it to the team’s training camp.

In honor of "cut day," where hundreds of NFL players will be released by 6 p.m. ET, Wake shared his personal experience of being released by the Giants eight years ago.

"I remember sitting Coach [Tom] Coughlin's office," Wake told this week. "He gave me that general speech: ‘Hey, we’re going in another direction. Things just didn’t work out. Best of luck. Hopefully this will be a fuel to your fire somewhere else.' So on and so forth.

"It was kind of that scripted, ‘we’re going to cut you’ speech. But at the end of the day, it might have been true for me."

Wake didn’t get another shot until the CFL called two years later. Wake put together back-to-back dominant seasons where he registered 39 sacks for the British Columbia Lions. He earned CFL rookie of the year and defensive player of the year honors. That is when several NFL teams -- including the Dolphins -- offered Wake an NFL contract. The rest was history.

Miami's Pro Bowl defensive end is proof that being released doesn't mean it has to be the end for NFL hopefuls. There certainly will be players cut Saturday who bounce back and do well on another NFL roster.

Wake has mixed emotions about his short stint with the Giants. He wished he stuck around longer but appreciated New York being the only NFL team to give him a shot out of college.

“I look back on it now, I got an opportunity for the Giants and I got one opportunity when I went to Canada. That was really the only two opportunities I got,” Wake said. “Had I not been ready for Canada, I never would have got back on that path to come play football down here [in Miami]. Even when I got down here, I had to start all over again.”