Wasps have confirmed Christian Wade has retired from rugby union amid suggestions the 27-year-old wants to play in the NFL.
Wing Wade has scored 82 Premiership tries for Wasps – the second-most in the competition’s history – but has only been capped by England on one occasion five years ago.
Reports of Wade’s desire to switch sports first emerged last week and he was not included in the squad to face Bath in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
Wasps have now announced that Wade has been released from his contract and has called time on his rugby union career, seemingly paving the way for him to attempt to transfer to American football.
“It’s very disappointing to lose a player of Wadey’s quality at this stage of the season,” Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said.
“The club held numerous discussions with him to try and convince him to keep pushing forward with Wasps, but in the end it was clear this is the path he wished to go down.
“The club nevertheless want to wish him all the best with his future career path and put on record our thanks for the contribution Christian has made to Wasps Rugby.”
Wade stressed he had not taken the decision to turn his back on rugby union lightly.
“After playing nine years of professional sport for Wasps, I’ve decided to leave for personal reasons,” he revealed.
“I would like to thank Wasps chairman Derek Richardson and Dai for their support, consideration and understanding in what is the most difficult decision of my life.”
Wade could now follow in the footsteps of former Worcester Warriors lock Christian Scotland-Williamson and ex-England Under-20s captain Alex Gray, both of whom are with NFL franchises under the International Player Pathway program.
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