A former Buffalo Bills running back is returning to his home country and potentially going back to his original sport, an insider claims.
Converted rugby star Christian Wade became one of Buffalo’s most popular practice squad players in recent memory, turning in some electric performances during the preseason but never finding his way to the active roster. Though his time with the Bills has come to an end, Wade’s athletic career could continue in his native England.
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Return to Rugby for Wade
As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News reported, Wade has aspirations to return to the rugby career that made him famous in England and led him to take part in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.
“According to reports from England, Wade is considering a return to rugby, although he hasn’t completed abandoned his dream of playing in the NFL,” Skurski wrote. “He is no longer under contract with the Bills.”
The International Pathway Program created an exempt spot on the practice squad for Wade, which allowed him to spend three years with the team but with no chance of making the active roster. Wade may have left the Bills earlier, but the NFL expanded the program after the pandemic, giving players an extra year of practice squad exemption.
Wade was one of two players on the Bills from the International Pathway Program. Defensive lineman Efe Obada joined the Bills in 2021 after several stops around the NFL and a football career that began with the London Warriors. He had a strong season with the Bills, registering 3.5 sacks as part of head coach Sean McDermott’s deep defensive line rotation.
‘Long Shot’ to Return to the NFL
Skurski noted that Wade may have NFL aspirations, but it’s likely that he won’t have another chance given that he’s 31 years old and still relatively inexperienced at playing football. Still, the Buffalo News reporter noted that Wade’s time with the Bills could be considered a success.
“He should be proud of what he accomplished in coming to the NFL and spending two years on a practice squad,” Skurski wrote. “He was a fun player to cover and he is no doubt a world-class athlete. I wouldn’t consider his experience a waste of time for either side. Wade got to experience life around an NFL football team, the Bills got some positive press out of his presence and gave him an honest chance. Both sides should leave the experience feeling good.”
Bills fans will get to carry the memory of his electric debut in the 2019 preseason. On the first carry of his NFL career, Wade scampered 65 yards for a touchdown.
Wade likely would have had a long road to make the final roster this season, as the Bills added depth at running back by signing veteran Duke Johnson and drafting Georgia running back James Cook in the second round. They will compete for carries with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, who initially split carries last season until Singletary surged late and got the majority of the carries through the end of the season.