If you have Cameron Wake’s phone number but don’t yet have a ticket to Sunday’s game against his hometown Redskins, don’t bother calling.
Don’t even text.
It’s nothing personal. But he’s going to ignore the request.
“You won’t get a no, you won’t get a yes,” Wake said with a chuckle. “You won’t get anything. Don’t call me on Saturday morning looking for a ticket. I’m not even going acknowledge it.”
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“If you really want to be there, you’ll find a way to be there,” Wake added.
Wake estimates some 100 people have already asked for a pass to his first game back in Metro D.C. in more than a decade.
It’s no wonder. Most of Wake’s pre-NFL life was spent there:
His childhood growing up in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, his high school days at football powerhouse DeMatha, and his time in football limbo, when he was selling mortgages and working at Bally Total Fitness while waiting for another shot.
During a 10-minute phone conversation with the Miami Herald on Thursday, Wake could nearly be heard beaming on the other side of the line when talking about this weekend’s homecoming.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Wake, about to begin his seventh NFL season. “This is where I kind of grew up, where most of my family grew up. I even grew up a Redskins fan. … My family who doesn’t get a chance to come down to Florida will get a chance to see me play.”
And it will probably be their last chance — at least at FedEx Field.
The Dolphins won’t again return to Washington for a regular-season game until 2023; Wake would be 41 years old and likely long out of the league.
But those who turn out for Sunday’s season opener will still have a chance to see Wake near his best — if not at it.
“I’ll tell you, I think he’s had a really, really good preseason and training camp,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “I think his get-off is still excellent. He seems to be really growing even in his role as a leader on the football team. I’m really pleased with where he is at.”
Short of injury, Wake, now 33, will move into second place on the Dolphins’ career sacks list this fall. But he’ll probably never catch Jason Taylor, the all-time franchise leader whom Wake trails by 68 sacks.
Still, there is one record that could fall this season; Taylor and Bill Stanfill are tied for first in sacks in a season — 18 1/2. Wake has had more than 11 in three of the past five seasons.
“I’ve got to call JT and talk to him about that,” Wake said. “I’m not really a numbers guy. … I assume the sack record on a play is one. A tackle record on a play is one. Every play, every series, I want to go out there and do my job. I just try to do my best.
“At the end of the day, you look back and hopefully you stockpiled all kinds of tremendous destruction in your wake — pun intended.”
For Wake, it’s a familiar answer, a nose-to-the-grindstone message he has shared with everyone from his Dolphins teammates to the newest crop of DeMatha players.
The Maryland football powerhouse was in South Florida to play American Heritage last week; Wake spoke to his old team before they returned north with a Top 25 victory.
At the end of the day, you look back and hopefully you stockpiled all kinds of tremendous destruction in your wake — pun intended.
When Wake speaks, he does so with credibility. Not only is he one of the best players on the team, he’s now one of the oldest. Only long snapper John Denney (36) is older.
“I am without a doubt, a human being. Not a robot, not invincible,” said Wake, adding that Father Time is “the only thing that’s undefeated in this league. Whether it’s your decision or some GM somewhere, you’re going to play your last snap [someday]. You never know when it’s going to be.”
Wake continued: “It could be tomorrow, it could be four years from now. I have no way to know. … I still feel good. I still feel like I can play at a high level. I’m just going to do it as long as I can contribute.”
Get your ticket to watch him while you can.
DOLPHINS’ ALL-TIME SACKS LEADERS
1. Jason Taylor
1997-07, 2009, 2011
2. Bill Stanfill
3. Doug Betters
4. Vern Den Herder
5. Cameron Wake
2009 to present