Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is now in his fifth season with the team from Florida and registered a single tackle in their 38-14 win against the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The game was his second visit to London in just a few months as back in the summer he joined five other NFL players to take part in a NFL UK Fan Night in London in front of 250 specially invited American Football fans.
Once the Florida media were dealt with after the Wembley win he spoke to A Head For The Game about what playing in London actually means for NFL players and the atmosphere the 84,000 UK and European fans created in the stadium.
“Honestly, this game was treated more like a business trip,” said the 32-year-old who arrived in England with the team just over 48 hours before kick-off. “They gave us three or four hours of free time where we could go and see the sights but the reality was that we were here to get a win.
“Some guys spent some time around town, but we’ve got a long off-season so if you want to go over to London that would be a good time to do it – you can come over here and go see Big Ben all you want, for the most part this trip was business as usual.”
Wake himself revealed that he had been to London as tourist before and those experiences, combined with the summer visit on behalf of the NFL meant that he could offer a bit of insight to his teammates ahead of their trip to Europe.
“Without a doubt as I had been here before I was able to point guys in the right direction in as far as things they may want to see,” said the former CFL player. “This time I didn’t know what to expect as I’d been over here as a tourist before but never in a working capacity.
“This is my sixth year in the league and I have never played over here – this is my first time. We have got to come over to London, see some sights and play a football game in a foreign country – it is one I will definitely never forget.”
With plenty of ‘Wake 91’ shirts on show around Wembley Stadium, the Penn State graduate has certainly made an impression on the UK fan base and the former Pro Bowler was clearly impressed by what he experienced.
“I was really surprised and honoured that a lot people here were cheering me on,” he explained. “With us not being the ‘home’ sport and something foreign I didn’t know what to expect but people were coming up to me and were interested about football, even if they didn’t know anything about it.
“It’s definitely been a lot of fun and the UK fans have been great – Wembley was electric. Literally, every time I got on the field they were going crazy; I saw the [Mexican] wave going around, cheering, chanting; it was just like a regular football game.
“The win definitely makes the 10-hour flight home shorter and I’m looking forward to hamming it up with the fellas on the plane, hanging out with my friends and going into the bye week on a good note – these are the things we will remember from this experience, it’s been different.
“We spoke before the game about how there would be games in your career that you will never forget and how for different reasons and for different situations you will remember certain games – this is one of them.”
Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins/NFL