FOXBORO (CBS) — As most folks expected Vince Wilfork is feeling pretty good health-wise after having almost nine months to recover from his torn Achilles. What wasn’t quite as well known was just how Wilfork would be feeling mentally, after he and the Patriots had a bit of a spat over the veteran defensive tackle’s contract in the offseason.
Wilfork reportedly asked the Patriots to trade or release him, before the two sides eventually agreed upon a restructuring.
Despite the temporary disagreement, the defensive captain said Thursday that it’s all water under the bridge.
“I’m here. That’s a dead issue,” Wilfork said. “I’m here for a reason. So if I didn’t believe in the things that were brought to me, I wouldn’t have signed it. So I’m here, there’s a reason that I’m here. I’m not upset. I’m not holding no type of grudge. I mean, business is business and everybody handles business in different ways. But in my career, I think the right thing was for me to be up here with my family and teammates and a staff I’ve been around for so long, the organization I know.
“It was just a smart decision for me and my family to be here. But if we thought that it wouldn’t work, we wouldn’t be here. So it’s a positive thing that I’m here. Like I said, there are no grudges. That’s something that happened a while ago and that’s the first time I’ve actually talked about it. But it’s a non-issue.”
Wilfork didn’t feel much like enlightening the media on whether he entertained the thought of playing for another team.
“Business is business. I’m here now, so everything happened for a reason. I’m here,” Wilfork said. “Who knows what might’ve happened? I could’ve gotten drafted somewhere else, too, so there’s always something ‘what if’.’ So if if was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.”
As for his play on the field, Wilfork said he’s getting healthier and stronger every day, and he’ll be “ready to rock and roll” once training camp starts.
“I think this year is probably going to be one of the most exciting times in my career, to actually be able to put pads on and be able to practice. Every year I’m excited but I think this year is going to be a little special just because of what I’ve been through and how far I came along,” a reflective Wilfork said.
Wilfork did show a bit of fire when asked if he would change his approach to the game now that he’s suffered the type of injury he did last year.
“I’m gonna stick with my guns. Until I prove myself wrong, that’s going to always be my motto. I’m gonna stick with my guns, I’m going to be true to myself, and I know that if I work hard, hard enough, if that’s not good enough, then it’s time for me to call it quits. So until that day happens, you’re gonna keep seeing my pretty face,” Wilfork said.
“If I approach it differently, then I might as well walk away from it. I only know how to play this game one way, and that’s hard and fast and tough. That’s it. That’s how I expect to play. If I can’t do that, then it’s time for me to retire. And I don’t think it’s time for me to retire right now.”
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