Patriots head coach Bill Belichick released a statement on defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who announced Monday that he will be signing with the Houston Texans after 11 years in New England.
Wilfork, 33, had spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Patriots before the team declined to pick up his option earlier this month.
"Few players reached or will ever reach the special level of Vince Wilfork. He is a great champion and one of the classiest people I have ever been around—just a kind, genuine and giving person who was all about our team, football, winning and bringing joy to others. There may have never been anyone at his position with as much strength, toughness, intelligence, instinctiveness and athleticism. He is the best defensive linemen I ever coached, an all-time great Patriot whose place on our team will be missed but whose remarkable career as a Patriot will be remembered forever."
Wilfork played all 16 regular season games for the Patriots in four of the past five seasons. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons from 2009–12.
After his announcement, Wilfork sent out a series of tweets thanking the organization and fans.
To win a Super Bowl my rookie year as a Pat and win another 1 my last year as a Patriot is such a blessing I couldn't write a better ending— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
The Kraft family will always B family frm every son their wives &grandkids NFL brings people together real relationships keep them together— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
Thank you Bill for 11 years I have learned so much it's been an amazing run you your kids Linda we are always family— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
My brothers on the field I love you all I wish you success & health changing teams will never change our bonds we are brothers forever— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
To all the fans this is the hardest choice I have ever had to make you guys are my back bone and you guys will always be my heart— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
- Molly Geary