Former New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork was announced as this year’s inductee into the team’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday. With that in mind, he shared some final thoughts on his playing career.
Wilfork was drafted by the Patriots with the 21st overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. He would go on to have a long and successful career. He played 12 seasons, recording 559 combined tackles and 16 sacks in what was a 13-year career. He made the Pro Bowl five times, and won the Super Bowl two times as a member of the Patriots.
Speaking to assembled media on Tuesday, he gave an explanation as to why he believes he is one of the best defensive tackles ever, per Zack Cox of NESN.com.
“I believe I was probably one of the best true two-gap nose tackles that ever played the game, and I would put that against anyone. I mean, I played from left to right. I played five (technique), four, three, two, one on both sides. You don’t have any noses doing that, and when you can find one, you can let me know.
“So I’ve always regarded myself as one of the best defensive tackles and the best nose tackle to ever play the game. And people can fight me on it. People can have their opinions on it. But I’m just telling you where I stand, because I was that one guy that can go from left to right defensive end and anywhere in the middle. So I was a nightmare for offenses trying to figure out where I’m going to be, and all that credit goes to Bill Belichick.”
It would be hard to argue with Wilfork’s resume, as he helped solidify stellar Patriots defenses during the first Patriots Super Bowl run. He helped stabilize the front end of the Patriots defense for several years. Throughout his time with New England, Wilfork played at a consistent level. Now, he is immortalized in Patriots history forever.
Only two Patriots free agents remain unsigned with Troy Fumagalli off to San Francisco
The New England Patriots’ list of unrestricted free agents saw only minimal changes over the last few weeks. On Tuesday, however, another name was crossed off the list: tight end Troy Fumagalli signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Fumagalli, 27, originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2018. After spending time with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, the joined the Patriots as a free agent last offseason.
Fumagalli appeared in one preseason game for the team but was released during the second wave of roster cutdowns in mid-August. Since he was waived with an injury designation and went through the waiver wire unclaimed, Fumagalli reverted to New England’s IR. He spent the remainder of the 2021 season on the reserve list.
In total, Fumagalli has 19 games on his pro-level résumé as well as 14 receptions for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns. All of his production stems from his time in Denver.
With him now off to San Francisco, only two of New England’s original 18 free agents remain unaccounted for two months into the new league year: linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins.
Hightower, 32, is one of the best linebackers in Patriots history and was a cornerstone of the club’s Dynasty 2.0. Despite his status as a three-time world champion and long-time team captain, however, his free agency experience has been a quiet one. That said, a reunion is still a possibility in case he decides to extend his career into what would be an 11th NFL season.
Collins, 32, is coming off his third stint with the Patriots. As opposed to his first two, however, he served primarily as a role player in 2021. Like Hightower, he would project as a low risk depth signing at this point in his career and the team’s roster construction process.
At the moment, the Patriots have five open spots on their 90-man offseason roster.