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Perfect Fit: Vince Wilfork Ready For Patriots Hall Enshrinement

On Saturday, former defensive tackle Vince Wilfork will be honored as the 32nd inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

FOXBORO — For 11 NFL seasons, Patriot Blue seemed to be the sartorial color of preference for former New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

As fortunes would have it, he looks pretty good in red, as well.

With his induction ceremony (honoring him as the 32nd inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame) just two days away, Wilfork was joined by members of the media on Thursday afternoon for his jacket fitting at the interiors foyer of the Hall. The symbolic event has become a late-September staple, allowing the enshrinee a chance to reflect on his time in a Patriots uniform … prior to the inevitable emotions taking over during the formal ceremony.

“It fits!” Wilfork said with a smile as he donned his red Patriots Hall jacket for the first time. “How do I look(?),” he added in a playful tone for the media contingent on hand.

In April, Wilfork had been selected as one of three finalists for enshrinement. Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was a finalist for the sixth straight time, while former offensive lineman Logan Mankins was a first-time finalist.

Less than one month later, he became the sixth player to be voted by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, joining Drew Bledsoe (2011), Troy Brown (2012), Tedy Bruschi (2013), Ty Law (2014) and Kevin Faulk (2016).

This weekend, his journey becomes full circle, as he returns to the place where his pro career began eighteen years ago. It also allows him the chance to visit a “home” he has not seen in quite some time.

“This is my first time back [in Boston] in ten years. I landed and feel like we never left,” Wilfork grinned. “You’re walking through the city and you hear people screaming for you. Boston is always home for me. It always will be.”

Wilfork was the 21st overall selection by the Patriots in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played from 2004-2014 with New England after having played his collegiate football for the University of Miami. Wilfork helped the Patriots to two Super Bowl victories, while earning five Pro Bowl selections, four combined All-Pro selections and a place on the franchise’s 50th anniversary roster. He had served as a seven-time team captain during his New England tenure.

As such, Wilfork was visibly moved when reminiscing about his teammates, as well as the place he is about to take among the organization’s greatest contributors.

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“I’m wearing it [his red jacket] and I’ll keep it at my house, but this jacket is for everyone,” Wilfork said when asked about the numerous Patriots greats with whom he shared the field for over a decade. New England legends such as Tedy Bruschi, Matt Light, Troy Brown, Ty Law and Richard Seymour have already received their red jackets. Still, Wilfork is willing to share his honor with all of his former teammates, including those who have yet to receive the honor.

In true Patriots fashion, Wilfork remains fully invested in the concept of “the team.”

“We won a lot because as a team we took it seriously,” he remarked. “It was always about the team, it was never about me. Nose tackle is the grimiest position there is…one thing I always tell guys is you got to be versatile. You have to be able to move around. That’s how you become one of the greats.”

Understandably, his tone turned more reflective while gazing upon the wall displaying the names and numbers of those who have already been inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

“I made the wall,” Wilfork exclaimed. “There’s some great players there. Man… I’m with them.”

Despite taking his final snaps in a Houston Texans’ uniform, Wilfork signed a one-day contract in August 2017 to retire a Patriot. He started 148 games across his regular seasons. In the process, 517 tackles, 16 sacks, five forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, three interceptions and a touchdown were accrued. Not only has his legacy as a Patriots Hall-of-Famer been cemented, but it also has many wondering whether a Pro Football Hall of Fame nod - and a gold jacket to go with his new red one - may be in his future

Until then, this red jacket will suit ‘Big Vince’ just fine. 

Wilfork’s 2022 Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. on the Enel Plaza just outside the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Technologies.

As usual, the outdoor ceremony will be free and open to the public. Fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Additionally, Wilfork will be honored at a halftime ceremony during the Patriots home-opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Sept. 25.

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