The writing was on the wall when the Houston Texans lost to the New England Patriots in last year’s divisional round matchup. On Monday, big Vince Wilfork announced that he was walking away from the game after 13 seasons. And he did it in the most ‘Vince Wilfork’ way imaginable.
— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) August 7, 2017
Indeed Wilfork is hanging up his cleats in favor of smoked meats, but his lasting legacy will never be forgotten. Especially in New England where he began and ended his career with the Patriots as a Super Bowl Champion.
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Drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Miami, Wilfork was a part time player on a team that eventually won their third Championship in four seasons. But that was just the beginning for the hefty lineman. Wilfork would be the bridge on the defense between the old guard and the new.
As guys like Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, and Mike Vrabel left the Patriots, Wilfork remained as the key cog in the Patriots defensive rebuild. He remained as the Patriots ushered in newcomers such as Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, and the recently retired, Rob Ninkovich.
Never the one to fill the stat sheet, Wilfork was a true defensive tackle, clogging up the middle on just about every snap. Often taking two and sometimes three offensive lineman with him, setting the tone for the Patriots defense. He was selected to the Pro Bowl five times and was an All-Pro once, in 2012.
|11 y||11 y||NWE||158||148||3||48||0||28||23||5||0||12||2||1||16.0||355||167|
|2 yr||2 yr||HOU||31||31||0||0||0||0||1||15||28|
Wilfork endeared himself to the people of New England through his play and his commitment to the community that never wavered. He established the Vince Wilfork Foundation to help fight and cure diabetes. Something he still champions to this day.
In his final game in a Patriots uniform, Wilfork walked off the field in Arizona as a two-time Super Bowl Champion.
Big Vince spent his final two seasons in Houston as a member of the Texans. An organization littered with former Patriots coaches and players. However, after playing 31-of-32 games for the Texans over two seasons, Wilfork played his final game at Gillette Stadium. The place that taught him how to be a champion. A place his legacy will never die.
For more information on the Vince Wilfork Foundation, please click here.
– Ian Glendon is a National Co-Editor for cover32 and the Managing Editor for cover32/Patriots. He covers the NFL and New England Patriots. Like and follow on Follow @iglen31 Follow @cover32_NE and Facebook.