Now that he’s retired from the NFL, three-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington stays busy with the restaurants he owns and by offering advice to fellow Penn State football alums.
And Arrington has kept a close eye on Buffalo Bills newly-minted first-round draft pick Aaron Maybin as well as former CFL star Cameron Wake, who is playing under a four-year, $5 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, according to Tim Graham of ESPN.com.
Wake, who recorded 31 sacks during two seasons north of the border with the British-Columbia Lions, emerged as a top pass rusher in the CFL after going undrafted and biding his time initially with banking and working as a personal trainer.
Now, Wake is primed for a pass-rushing role with the Dolphins.
“That’s a heck of a story,” Arrington told ESPN.com. “He’s like Cinderella Man. That’s one of those stories where you’ve got to say, ‘Man, if you don’t believe that dreams can come true, then he’s one of those you have to look at.’
“He has to say, ‘If I didn’t go that extra mile, if I didn’t work a little bit harder, I actually cheated myself out of possibly realizing my dream.’ That personifies what he represents.”
So, why wasn’t Wake, who was known at Penn State as Derek Wake, an NFL draft pick?
According to Arrington, Wake’s work ethic didn’t match his vast physical ability. And that combination predictably landed him in Joe Paterno’s doghouse.
“He went there and was athletic as all get-out,” Arrington said. “There never was a question about his athletic ability. It was a question about his desire and his intensity.
“What happened from that time when he left Penn State to when he started playing in Canada, I don’t know. But it wasn’t the same man. It’s not the same guy. That’s pretty awesome that he’s getting an opportunity to play in the NFL after all that.”