Jason Taylor: “I saw my share of some really good ones, but Jonathan Ogden was by far the best. Big, strong, athletic … there is a good reason he’s in the Hall of Fame!"
Who sets/set the bar at your position?
Wake: “Either DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen, whichever one of them has the most sacks in the last three years or since I came into the league.”
Taylor: “Reggie White and Bruce Smith, hands down. You are talking nearly 400 sacks between two guys, which is just unreal. Both of them took over games and shut down offenses single-handedly.”
Which player did you admire growing up?
Wake: “I wouldn’t say growing up because I didn’t watch any football growing up. As I started to learn and play football I’d have to say Jason Taylor. When you think about the guy, he’s moderately attractive, young, he’s stylish, and in Miami. Here I am. I’m a moderately attractive, good-looking guy down here in Miami trying to do my thing.”
Taylor: “Michael Jordan. I know Mike didn’t play football, but his greatness transcended his sport. I think that his commitment to his craft, his professionalism, his style and his level of dominance inspired athletes across all sports.”
What has been/was the most memorable moment of your career?
Wake: “It would probably be my first Pro Bowl. I went from sitting on the couch for two years to starting in a Pro Bowl, so that really is the tops.”
Taylor: “It's really tough to single one out. Being drafted was special; starting my first game; playing with Dan Marino; all of the wins. But being carried off the field by my teammates after WINNING my final game was something I’ll always be humbled and amazed by.”
Which coach had the biggest influence on your playing career?
Wake: “I’ve got to go back to high school where I had a guy, Dennis Golden, who I think is now coaching up in Massachusetts. He basically dragged me off the basketball court. He looked at me like, ‘You’re a football player. You’re athletic, you’ve got it, you can run, you can jump and you could probably go to college playing basketball but you could make a living playing football.’ He was like, ‘Just come out. Just try it and the worst thing that can happen is if you don’t like it you can go back to playing basketball.’ I literally fell in love with it.”
Taylor: “George Novak and Jimmy Johnson. Coach Novak was my high school coach at Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh. I had never even played football before he approached me while I was doing some yard work. Coach convinced me to try out for the team and literally taught me the game, because I had no clue! I will always be grateful. And of course Jimmy! Jimmy believed in my abilities coming out of Akron and he gave me the chance to play, and play early.”