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For the second time in three years, Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has been invited to participate in the NFL Pro Bowl. Unlike his invite as a reserve on the 2010 AFC Pro Bowl squad, this time around Wake will be a starter.
The NFL announced full rosters for its annual all-star game, held the week after the Super Bowl in Hawaii, this afternoon. Wake was the only Dolphin named to the AFC roster. Left tackle Jake Long led early fan balloting for his position, but he then went on injured reserve, ending his season.
"Considering where I came from, [making the Pro Bowl] is an amazing accomplishment," Wake told the Miami Herald Wednesday. "It wasn't a walk in the park. There wasn't a silver spoon. I took some back roads."
Undrafted out of college, Wake spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League before signing with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2009. In 2010, he had 14 sacks, a mark which he has already topped this season.
"By representing the Miami Dolphins, I can take the story I've had, and show people that if you believe in yourself and follow your dreams, anything can happen," he said.
Besides Long, punter Brandon Fields and center Mike Pouncey were also potential candidates for the AFC squad, but neither made the final cut. Pouncey was beat out in part by his twin brother Maurkice, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wake signed a four-year contract extension in May worth $49 million. He has been worth every penny so far, amassing 15 sacks and forcing 3 fumbles this season, even as opposing offenses make stopping him a priority. Only three players have more sacks than Wake this season, all of whom will join him in Hawaii.
"I feel like I’m the best at what I do," he told the Herald. "Without a doubt. I'm going to work hard every day to improve on that."
The Dolphins close their season on Sunday against the New England Patriots.