There are plenty of miles on the body and frame of Vince Wilfork and, entering in his second season with the Houston Texans, he wants more. The 13-year veteran is embarking on the twilight of his career, one which is decorated with Super Bowl rings, All-Pro, and Pro-Bowl selections.
Wilfork keeps coming back for one reason and, according to his own words, that reason is, “the love for the game. The passion for it.”
“I think I have a couple good more years in me to continue to go as long as my body stays healthy and mentally I’m there.” explained Wilfork. “I think mentally, for me, mentally, it will go before my body will.”
Wilfork was brought in prior to the start of the 2014 season to reunite with a familiar group of faces. Former teammates and now coaches Mike Vrabel and Larry Izzo, plus coaches Bill O’Brien, George Godsey, and Wilfork's first defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel, all made Houston an attractive new home.
The Texans do not treat Wilfork any different than his teammates, and expect the 34-year old defensive lineman to get work on the field. Asked what has changed from this year compared to last, Wilfork said with a big smile.
“I’ll tell you what, a lot more reps, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know if that counts. Have to talk to Billy O (head coach, Bill O’Brien) about that.”
Starting 16 games for the Texans in 2015, Wilfork brought in a veteran presence and is one player who does his job play to play. Passing on knowledge to both young and veteran players, Wilfork is a player depended on inside the locker room for advice.
Now, in a new season and with new understudy, rookie nose tackle D.J. Reader, Wilfork continues to pass his knowledge to the younger players. Reader is trying to use Wilfork's mentorship to accelerate his learning on the field.
“I was just talking to D.J. Reader,” said Wilfork. “We were having a conversation about when Romeo (Crennel) stands up and talks about a certain defense, I can make certain checks and what adjustments and all that stuff. Just by him picking up on that, little things like that – and he asks questions. That’s one of the things I want to do. I want to be able to answer questions.”
Wilfork is one of the few Texans who have a greater job than just production on the field, his mission is to be a locker room guy and help build the roster with a solid foundation. A foundation that involves life on and off the football field.
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