Here's a tough question: Who's the most recognizable face of South Florida sports today? For decades, that was an easy answer. First, it was Dan Marino. Then, even through the LeBron era, it was Dwyane Wade. These days, however, there's no clear choice for the big dog of South Florida sports.
The Big Three are gone. RIP, Jose Fernandez. Giancarlo "Mike" Stanton? Sure, in between two-month stints on the DL. Ryan Tannehill? I fell asleep typing his name. Jaromir Jagr? Rental.
Cameron Wake? Find a flaw – I dare you. Wake is nearing a decade of NFL dominance, all with class and leadership.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Wake's new deal with the Miami Dolphins is a two-year contract worth up to $18 million, with $11 million guaranteed. If Wake completes that deal, he will have played ten full seasons in Miami. Coming into this season, he has 81.5 sacks, including 11.5 last season, when he played part-time coming off a knee injury the previous season. If Wake is able to match his 2016 numbers the next two seasons, he could be looking at a Hall of Fame career. Not bad for a guy who couldn't get teams to answer the phone coming out of college.
Wake has continually handled himself in a profession manner in Miami. Never, not once, has there been a time when his attitude has been an issue. Adam Gase is the fifth head coach Wake has played for, yet he's never overly complained about the cards he's been dealt. He has stuck with Miami through the good and the bad. He's been to hell and back, injury-wise, but you don't hear about his comeback like you do J.J. Watt's.
All Wake does is show up to work and kick ass. It's been a pleasure to watch him wear No. 91 over the past eight seasons, and it was spectacular news last week to hear that the Dolphins were investing in keeping him here a few more seasons.
It's damn time Wake starts to get the credit he deserves in South Florida. He is everything you want from an athlete in 2017. Cameron Wake is the face of South Florida sports.