The Buffalo Bills made a splash from across the pond last season when they were allocated 29-year-old British rugby star Christian Wade via the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. Now entering his second year in the league, the running back hopes to make the 53-man roster with the Bills despite the cancellation of preseason games.
With a full year of learning and training under his belt, some wonder whether an adequate opportunity will be available for him to make the team. Chatting via video conference this week from Bills training camp, Wade said that’s not how he’s viewing things. Instead, he’s taking the hand he’s being dealt and making no excuses.
“This is my second year and it’s I guess a make or break year. It’s ironic, the fact that we’re not going to have any preseason games and this whole crazy situation… I believe I do [have a chance to make the roster], because of the way that the Bills organization and everything is set up. Coach [Sean McDermott] really believes in choosing the best players to be a part of the team, to be in the squad, so I feel as though if I prove myself in practice – and he’s giving us lots of opportunities to really put our best foot forwards, then I’ll really have a chance to make the team.”
Time and time again, McDermott has shown this is a true message. It’s helped the Bills bring in many free agents. The best play will play in Buffalo. Come on in and no matter who you are, if you earn it, you get the job.
And even though he’s still new-ish to football, Wade’s talented. He was a top Premiership Rugby league winger in the United Kingdom. He holds the Premiership record of 82 tries for scores in 130 appearances for the Wasps Football Club of Coventry. Wade shined early on during last year’s NFL preseason program, showcasing elite talent as he carried for a 65-yard touchdown run in his first play from scrimmage during live game action. Fans and teammates alike went nuts on the play.
Christian Wade’s first touch in the NFL went well
— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) August 9, 2019
Buffalo has made some upgrades to their offensive backfield this offseason, including bolstering the backfield by selecting Utah’s Zack Moss in the third round of the recent draft. The team also brought back Taiwan Jones in free agency, who will mostly be a special teams option. This new mix of talent joins Wade along with first-year standout Devin Singletary and veteran TJ Yeldon, who spent parts of last season inactive.
While the possibility of returning to the team’s practice squad as an exempted member remains, Wade is still keeping confident in his chances to make the cut. But regardless of the final outcome, there’s never going to be any doubt in Wade’s mind that he made the right decision to give American football a go.
“There’s no regrets whatsoever on my side,” he shared. “When I make a decision, I’ve already thought it out in my mind. I’m not someone to make to make spur of the moment decisions. When it’s a big decision, if I’ve made it, it’s something I’ve thought about. There’s definitely no regrets.
“The whole reason I came out here was that an opportunity presented itself and I wanted to test myself against the best athletes in the world, to put myself in a situation where I knew I was going to be uncomfortable but it’d make me grow as a man and an athlete as well.”
Just don’t take Wade’s word, either. Earlier this offseason, quarterback Josh Allen discussed the international rusher in February. Allen himself said he sees a chance for Wade.
“I do. I definitely do,” Allen said. “He’s awesome. Just how he attacks each day.”