BOSTON (CBS) — As the Patriots walked off the Gillette Stadium field victorious on Saturday, dispatching the Houston Texans 34-16 in the AFC Divisional Round, Vince Wilfork stood and soaked the atmosphere in.
The Texans nose tackle saluted the crowd he once called his own as they chanted his name. His season is over, and there’s a good chance his NFL career is too after 13 seasons.
The 35-year-old had hinted that retirement could be in his near future at the end of the regular season. He will take some time to decompress after Saturday’s defeat before making a final decision, it sounds like Vince Wilfork is done playing football.
“I will take my time and think about it, but I think I have played my last NFL football game,” he told reporters after Houston’s 34-16 loss. “I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back and see if I really want to retire and all of that stuff. We’ll see. I don’t know how long that will take. I will see.
“It doesn’t change the fact I enjoyed every bit of my career,” he continued. “I enjoyed 11 great years in New England. I enjoyed two great years in Texas with these teammates, unbelievable teammates. I couldn’t have any better teammates, from both organizations. And you talk about the organizations themselves, top of the class.”
Asked if it was special that his final game may have come against his former team, Wilfork didn’t need many words to describe the feeling.
“It’s never special to lose,” he said.
Wilfork played 11 seasons for the New England Patriots after being a first-round pick out of Miami in 2004, anchoring some of New England’s most impressive defensive units. He won Super Bowls to start and end his Patriots career, earning five Pro Bowl nods along the way to go with a First-Team All Pro honor in 2012.
It’s fitting that his last game may come at Gillette Stadium, with Patriots fans sending him off into retirement with a bouquet cheers.