The Miami Dolphins have 40 players on their roster that have never played in a post-season game. That is an incredible number to say the least.
Two of those players have been in the league quite awhile. Mario Williams has been in the league since 2006 and Cameron Wake has been around since 2009. Sort of.
The roads that they have taken are quite different but both have come close to a playoff experience.
Williams was drafted number one overall by the Houston Texans in 2006. He quickly earned his draft spot. Williams was a Pro-Bowl pick four times. 2008, ’09, ’13, and 2014. He was a three-time All-Pro first team and in 2013 was a 2nd team All-Pro. In 2007 Williams was the NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year.
His time with the Texans led him to a huge free agent contract with the Bills in the 2012 off-season but a year earlier, Williams has his first career shot at the post-season. And he missed it.
In week 5 of the 2011 season, Williams was hurt and missed the remainder of the season. The Texans went to the playoffs and advanced from the Wild Card round to the divisional round where they lost. Williams would leave for the Bills in the off-season and the Bills with Williams would not make the post-season.
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Cam Wake’s trip to the NFL was far different from Williams’. Undrafted in 2005, Wake joined the New York Giants and was a member of their team until June when he was released. With no other NFL teams looking at him, the former Nittany Lion left for the CFL.
In his first year, Wake would become the only player in CFL history to win both the Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year award at the same time. Wake spent 2007 to 2008 with the BC Lions and made a huge impact and at the same time, caught the eye of former Dolphins G.M, Jeff Ireland.
Wake was signed in the 2009 off-season, one year after the team made the playoffs behind Chad Pennington and the Wild Cat formation run by Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins offense. Miami was an attractive destination for Wake as they came off their first post-season appearance since 2001.
Wake became a five time Pro-Bowl defensive end. 2010, ’12, ’13, ’14, and again in 2016. He has been a first team All-Pro in 2012 and a 2nd team All-Pro three times. Yet, like Williams, the post-season had eluded him.
On Sunday, for two players that drought will end when Miami plays the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wake will start while Williams will back-up Andre Branch on the other side. It’s been reported that Williams will be released prior to the start of the league new year and Wake likely has one or two more years left before his career comes to a close.
For now, they can enjoy what the post-season feels like and with a solid game on Sunday, might get feel it again a week later.