Former England wing Christian Wade has reached the next key stage of his transformation from rugby union star to an American football player by putting on the extensive padding players wear to try and avoid the massive hits in the National Football League.
The Buffalo Bills rookie admitted the extra protection gave him a feeling of “invincibility”.
Wade is attempting to make the massive sporting leap from rugby union to become an NFL running back as part of the league’s international player pathway project.
The former Wasps wing claimed that the first contact training with the Bills took the challenge to a new level.
Wade told News10NBC: “It has been a hell of an experience so far and this training camp has gone up a level with a bit of contact and getting used to the running plays and being hit with the pads on.
Everyone on the @BuffaloBills training camp roster has a different background that's led them to the NFL, but RB @ChristianWade3 might take the cake….or scone…for most unique! Here's how the former rugby star is enjoying his first days in football pads.?? @news10nbc @NFLUK pic.twitter.com/wAzgyFblVe
— Breland Moore (@BrelandMoore) July 28, 2019
“I’m used to not wearing pads so I know what it feels like to get hit but with the pads, you almost feel a bit more invincible I guess. That’s why it is so much harder.”
The former international is still trying to take in all of the information needed to understand the playbook used by the Bills offence and to recognise his part in the system.
He has been helped by veteran players on the Bills squad who have taken time to help the rookie get used to a new sport.
He added: “The hardest part as definitely been the amount of information I have to take on board, digest and then bring onto the field, maybe the same day.
“The physical side is demanding as we’re going 100 per cent on every play with no rest sometimes. In rugby, it was more of an on-going game and slower-paced.
He's never played football, but he's willing to risk it all. ?
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) June 20, 2019
“There are guys who have had multiple years in the league and also the other guys have five to six years, so there is lots of experience and it’s great for me to learn from those guys even if it is off the field stuff.
“Any little things I can pick their brains and they are all really helpful, which is great. This first training camp has been so much fun.”
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