Christian Wade has begun his journey to become an NFL running back and has no intention of returning to rugby.
Two months after causing a sensation by quitting to chase a long shot in American football, the England winger has come through his first training camp.
Despite never playing the game before flying to Florida with an international group of NFL wannabes, he has already decided he is done with rugby.
“It’s like if you break-up with your girlfriend,” said the 27-year-old. “You can’t go back there. Know what I mean?
“I’ve made the decision to go into this fully. If I have the mindset of one foot in, one foot out there’s no way I’m going to be successful. So for me there is no going back. I’ll see it through to the end.”
Wade was inspired by watching ‘Undiscovered’, which charted the progress of three Brits trying to reach the NFL. The documentary points out that non-Americans have a “better chance of being struck by lightening than making it".
But one did and seeing Efe Obada – trafficked to London as a 10-year-old, abandoned and left homeless – make it with the Carolina Panthers, lit a fire within Wade.
Coinciding as it did with the Wasps speedster growing restless in rugby, where his talent was never fully recognised, it provided the spur he needed to take the plunge.
“I just felt it was the right time to make a change,” said Wade. “To do something different, whether that was go abroad to play rugby or try another sport completely.
“I always look to grow as a person and as an athlete and no doubt this will push me, but this challenge is one for which I’m willing to risk my career.”
Within a day of announcing he was walking away from rugby Wade’s world changed completely. “It’s one thing to talk about it, another to do it," he admitted. "Suddenly I was faced with uncertainty."
But much of that has gone after a fortnight spent working at the IMG Academy with specialist running back coach and 13-year NFL veteran Mike Sellers.
“Some guys hit hard in rugby cos they don’t care,” Wade laughed. “In the NFL everyone don’t care cos they’ve got the helmet on.
“But if I put everything I have into this I believe I’ll make it. Some will doubt me but that’s okay. I’ve had that throughout my career.”
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