Not this year, and maybe not next.
But at some point, Father Time will finally chase down Cameron Wake.
He turns 36 in January, and will be one of the league’s oldest position players.
And while Wake crossed his fingers Friday when asked about playing a few more years, there is no guarantee he will.
So it is only natural to start thinking about his legacy. And Wake’s legacy, if he never played another down, would be this:
Great player who never was part of a great team.
“I would hope that’s not the case,” Wake said Friday. “Nobody in here’s a fortune teller, myself included. This year could be a great year. Next year could be a great year. This could be my best game ever. This could be my worst game ever. … I’m trying to accumulate, I’m trying to continue to be great. If I stop and pat myself on the back, then my greatness is going to be waning. I’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Wake has plenty of reasons to pat that back.
The ninth-year defensive end needs a half-sack over the last five weeks to average 10 per season in his career. Another two sacks this year would give him 10 or more for the fifth time.
But when Wake someday is considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, some voters could see those stats as somewhat hallow.
There has been no corresponding team success, aside from a first-round playoff loss in 2016.
Just 43 men have more career sacks than the 89 1/2 Wake has tallied as a pro.
And of those 43, only three had zero postseason wins: Pat Swilling, Mario Williams and Robert Porcher.
Jason Taylor, Wake’s mentor as a young player, has won in the playoffs. But he never reached the Super Bowl — and said later that was his biggest regret. Wake refused to think in those terms Friday.
“I could go to the Super Bowl this year,” Wake said. “I could go to the Super Bowl next. I haven’t shot myself and bowed out. I still have a lot of fight left. I think this team does as well. Hall of Fame, legacy, what I’m going to be when I’m 50 and thinking about it, that’s the furthest from my mind.”
An important piece of context here: Wake has had multiple chances to leave the Dolphins, and never has.
Since breaking into the league in 2009, he has re-signed with the Dolphins no fewer than three times, most recently in February, which extended him through the 2018 season.
Last year’s deal was the first he signed after a winning Dolphins season. So given the opportunity to chase the ring, he never has.
But given his age — and the fact the Dolphins are all but certain to miss the playoffs again this year — could that change?
“Another team has not crossed my mind for years,” Wake said. “Legacy hasn’t. Again, I’m a laser-focused guy. I’ve got blinders on. That’s way out of left field. I couldn’t care less about that right now.”
So let’s put it a different way. Why, knowing the team’s history over the past two decades, does he keep coming back?
“Every time’s a little different,” Wake said. “Last time I came back it was because obviously I felt a tremendous amount of comfort and history here and this organization. I have belief in the players, belief in the coaching staff. The city, fans, all of the above. For me to go somewhere else it would have to be a dramatically different opportunity, and I feel like the best opportunity is right here in Miami.”
▪ Four Dolphins players will miss Sunday’s game against the Broncos because of injury: guard Jermon Bushrod (foot), quarterback Matt Moore (foot), safety Maurice Smith (abdomen) and running back Damien Williams (shoulder).
These Miami players are questionable to play: defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (knee), running back Senorise Perry (concussion) and safety Michael Thomas (shoulder).