FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Earlier this week, two-time Super Bowl champion Vince Wilfork announced he was retiring from the NFL. Wednesday, he announced he’s retiring as a New England Patriot.
The team signed the fan favorite to a one-day contract so he could end his career with the team that drafted him in 2004.
During a news conference at Gillette Stadium Wednesday, Patriots CEO Robert Kraft and General Manager Bill Belichick made sure Wilfork got the proper sendoff.
“We ask our players not only to know what they do, but what the guys beside them do and understand the overall scheme,” Belichick said during Wednesday’s news conference. “And Vince is the best defensive lineman I’ve ever coached at that because of his ability to not only know what he was doing but control the entire line.”
Wilfork was a first-round draft pick in 2004. The defensive lineman recorded 351 tackles and 16 sacks during his 11 years in New England.
After the 2014 season, Wilfork left the Patriots and joined the Houston Texans. Still, the defensive lineman was able to play his last game under the lights of Gillette Stadium when the Patriots played the Texans in the 2017 postseason.
“My first career game in the NFL, I played here,” Wilfork said. “My last game of my career, I played here. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, or what. But I’m happy I went out the way I did.”
“As an owner, I understand the business dynamic,” Kraft said Monday about Wilfork’s departure. “But the good news is he’s coming back here.”
On Monday, Wilfork announced his retirement in a hilarious video ad for Kingsford charcoal, in which he announced, “No more cleats. I’m moving on to smoked meats.” The ad ended by promoting “Vince’s Farewell Tailgate” in New England on Sept. 7.
Eyewitness Sports reporter Mark Dondero will have the latest on Wilfork’s press conference on Eyewitness News at 5.