Vince Wilfork is a retired man, and his emotions were less humorous as it became official Wednesday than in his initial announcement earlier this week.
The 35-year-old defensive tackle signed a one-day contract with the Patriots to formally retire with the team that took a chance on him in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 9, 2017
“I spent 11 years here, 11 great years,” Wilfork said, via NESN. “My resume wouldn’t have been what it was without New England. The majority of my career, this is home. All the memories I made over the years, the guy that you guys saw and the career that I had, it wouldn’t have happened without the Patriots.
“I always wanted to come back and be a Patriot for life. I never wanted to leave, but things happened. Business is business and it happened, but I knew once I retired, I knew where I needed to be. It’s just so much I had invested in New England. It was the right thing to do.”
Wilfork, who spent his last two seasons with the Texans, got choked up during the commemorative ceremony at Gillette Stadium when he revealed the only regret of his NFL career: that his parents never had the opportunity to see him play professionally.
“My parents didn’t get a chance to see their son live out a dream he told them at the age of 4 I was going to be,” Wilfork said. “Physically it hurt every day. It hurt by the hour. Daily. Not a minute [went] by, but I know they had the best seat in the house.”
During his career, Wilfork was on two Super Bowl-winning Patriots squads, made the Pro Bowl five times and posted 559 tackles, 16 sacks, 12 fumble recoveries, three interceptions and five forced fumbles.