Vince Wilfork, who played for the New England Patriots and Houston Texans, announced his retirement on Monday, calling it a day on an impressive 13 year career. During that time Wilfork was named to five Pro Bowls and was voted a first-team All-Pro in 2012. Wilfork won two Super Bowls as a Patriot, 2004 and 2014, and was a member of the 2007 Patriot team that went 18-1.
Quite simply put, Wilfork was a big dude, both on the field and off. Wilfork was surprisingly nimble and athletic for his guy his size, something that was on full display during a game in 2011 when he picked off San Diego Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers.
Wilfork’s ability to clog the middle on the defensive line was invaluable for the Patriots, a team whose defensive scheme is built around athletic, hybrid linebackers flying all over the place. Big Vince allowed them to roam free by swallowing up more than one of the other team’s offensive lineman. When Wilfork left New England prior to the 2015 season to join the Texans, he was brought in to stabilize a talented defensive line anchored by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. In each of his two years in Houston, the Texans’ defense was ranked in the top 10.
But again, the legend of Big Vince Wilfork isn’t confined solely to the field. Following the Patriots AFC Championship win in January of 2015 Wilfork pulled a woman from her over-turned car. Then there’s Wilfork’s love of barbecuing, which was made famous courtesy of a video his wife happily shared with the world.
Wilfork even incorporated his love of barbecuing when it came time to announce his retirement, doing so in a video posted on Twitter that was sponsored by KIngsford Charcoal.
If the overalls Wilfork’s rocking towards the end of the clip look familiar, there’s a good reason for that. It’s because that the overalls, more than a Patriots’ uniform, a Texans’ uniform or going back, a Miami Hurricanes’ uniform, which Wilfork wore in college, are probably Wilfork’s most famous article of clothing he’s ever worn. Wilfork’s association with the overalls and no-shirt look dates back to the 2015 season Hard Knocks and the series fourth episode.
It’s a hard look to pull off. You need a certain level of swagger and gravitas to do it. I know I could never do it – not in a million years. But there’s Big Vince, walking around the Houston practice facility like he owns the place.
Yet my favorite part of that clip, which I’ve admittedly watched more times than I probably should, is the reaction Wilfork gets from his teammates and coaches. It’s pure joy. Each person who sees Big Vince seems to go through the same series of reactions, from disbelief to laughter to flat out appreciation.
I’m sure his teammates will miss him on the field, creating havoc in the trenches and stuffing an opposing team’s running back as they try to break through. Yet when you watch that video, you get the sense that they’ll miss him off the field just as much, if not more.
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