Ex-England international Christian Wade has ruled out a return to rugby despite not playing an American football match since August 2019 after his NFL career stalled at Buffalo Bills. The long-serving Wasps player left behind the Gallagher Premiership in October 2018 to pursue a career in NFL.
The 29-year-old, who was capped for England away to Argentina in 2013, was signed by the Bills via the sport’s international player pathway programme. He made an instant impact in his first appearance, scoring a touchdown with a 65-yard run with his first touch in a pre-season match.
However, his fortunes haven’t been as eye-catching since then. Unable to make the 53-man roster for the 2019 and 2020 NFL campaigns, the rookie running back had to make do with the Bills practice squad.
With the pandemic forcing the cancellation of the NFL’s 2020 pre-season programme, it robbed Wade of further exposure in a career where he has so far only played four American football games and is still awaiting an NFL debut.
Despite the absence of a match appearance in the past 17 months, Wade has insisted he remains committed to trying to make the breakthrough and has no intention of picking up where he left off in rugby.
In his first football game ever. On his first NFL touch.
— NFL (@NFL) August 9, 2019
Speaking to the UK Telegraph ahead of Buffalo’s wildcard match this Saturday against the Colts, Wade said: “I’m 100 per cent locked in. I made the decision to leave rugby and retire. This is what I am doing until I can’t do it any more.
“I feel as if I am ready to go out on the field and play and do a job. The game is so complex so you’re always going to be learning and getting better, but in terms of a foundation to go out on the field, I feel like I’m at that stage now.
“I believe in doing my job and showing them that I’m ready. Then there will be a point where they want to use you, or they won’t. Games are what is most important. You can practise as much as you want but you really need games to help with your development.”
Wade would be a different proposition if he returned to rugby as he has added 15lbs of muscle in trying to make the crossover to American football. “I don’t have to use my tank anymore,” he quipped. “I’m more of an out-and-out sports car now — short journeys only, and we have pit stops every four seconds.”
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