NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cameron Wake didn't get the memo.
The typical story for a veteran player in the twilight of his career is to join a Super Bowl favorite. That's not the case for the 37-year-old defensive end, who picked the Tennessee Titans on March 13.
"That's an interesting concept," Wake said when asked about veterans leaning toward obvious Super Bowl contenders. "There are a lot of pieces to it. You have to take all of your desires and wishes on your list and match it with the offers across the board. It could be 20 different things. It's not going to be one thing."
Wake mentioned the Titans' coaching staff, scheme, his role and the city among the factors in his decision. There were multiple offers, but for Wake, the Titans were the team that offered the best overall package.
Nashville had everything that he wanted, and Wake dug deep to find out what was going on with the Titans. Defensive line coach Terrell Williams coached Wake in Miami and helped him get a clear idea about the team.
Williams wasn't the only coach that appealed to Wake, who had nothing negative to say about his time in Miami. But he gushed about how much a coach like Mike Vrabel -- who had a 14-year career as a linebacker -- appeals to veteran players.
"He's a tremendous asset," Wake said. "A guy like me that has been in the league for a long time, having a coach that was a player is tremendous. No matter how many seminars you go to, how many coach's clinics, you can read every book but there's a different level that you can't achieve until you know what it's like to have a 300-pound man grab you or you grab him. There's a lot that you can study, but you can't fully know until you experience it. He knows what it feels like the next day."
Wake also likes the challenging scheme defensive coordinator Dean Pees employs. Wake says he's been impressed with the details Pees harps on. Wake likes how on some plays he'll be a decoy, and on others the "weight of the team" will be on him to make a play. From what Wake has seen to this point, many positions are given "a seat at the table" when it comes to rushing the passer. Everyone gets a chance to hunt.
The Titans will use Wake as a stand-up edge defender as well as a defensive end in sub packages. The role is a little new to Wake, but it's not foreign. He embraces the challenge.
"It adds a little more dynamic to it. Being able to do a little bit of this and a little of that will be fun," Wake said.
One of the most significant factors for Wake is getting the opportunity to pay it forward as a veteran. Wake pointed to Jason Taylor and Joey Porter as guys that helped him when he was in Miami. Now he gets to pass the knowledge down.
The impact goes beyond what happens on the field. Second-year linebacker Rashaan Evans said Wake looks like he can play another 10 years because of how hard he works to maintain his physique. Outside linebacker Harold Landry spends a lot of time with Wake because they're in the same position group. Landry, a second-round pick in 2018, will be relied upon to step up this year. Having Wake there to guide him is a bonus.
"I feel like I am in a blessed situation. Just talking to him and his overall flow, how he takes nutrition so seriously. He's been a great help for me with how I go about the game," Landry said.