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Second half of Vince Wilfork Q&A

06.10.09 at 2:09 pm ET

Here’s the second half of Vince Wilfork’s question-and-answer session with the media from today at Gillette Stadium (for part one, click here):

Do you feel like you made a point by missing OTAs?
I wasn’€™t trying to make a point. They knew, I didn’€™t leave them blind ‘€¦ I told them I wasn’€™t coming, and OK. They know the business aspect to it. We’€™re moving forward from here. This is my first day back, and I’€™m happy. This is my life. Football is my life. This is what I love. My family knows I love it. But at the same time, I have to do what’€™s smart for my family. Right now, the smart thing is to be here and get back into playing football, what I do best. Let’€™s see what happens from here.

You feel the same way about the first day of training camp, I imagine’€¦
I’€™m looking forward to it. Yes, I am.

You seem pretty optimistic about this whole thing’€¦
I hope it do. I really hope it do. I’€™m very positive about this whole thing. Like I said, this organization has been good to my family and I, and vice-versa. I’€™ve been good to this organization and this team. I’€™m a great teammate ‘€“ there’€™s not too many things I do out there that piss guys off. As long as I keep it that way, it’€™ll take care of itself.

You said you’€™ve signed a six-year deal and plan on playing it out. Does that mean you’€™re no longer looking for an extension?
No, I mean ‘€¦ I’€™ll let my agent handle that part. My job is to play football and that’€™s what I’€™m here to do now. Like I said, with the mandatory things that are coming up, I’€™m going to be here. Right now, that’€™s how it’€™s set up. I’€™m going to be here because that’€™s part of my six-year deal. With all that being said, that can answer a lot of questions out there. OTAs wasn’€™t mandatory, so the position I was in, I think it was best for me not to attend them.

Was that a matter of protecting yourself healthwise?
There were a lot of things, but that was one of them. But at the same time, it’€™s voluntary. Guys don’€™t go to work on their off days. When you chill at home, [you don’€™t think] ‘€˜Let me go to work’€™ even though it’€™s my time off. I took a break, stepped back, and got a little focus and understood what was going on around me. I understand everything ‘€¦ I’€™m fully aware of everything that’€™s going on. Like I said, being at a mandatory thing is part of my six-year contract. You know what? I will be here.

Do you want to try to set yourself up for a big deal?
My goal is to be here. That’€™s the bottom line. My goal is to be a New England Patriot. I think I said it in 04 when I was drafted ‘€“ I want to be drafted as a Patriot, end my career as a Patriot. I don’€™t care if I play 10, 12, 15, 18 years, I want to be here playing. It hasn’€™t changed. I wasn’€™t to be here. My family wants to be here. We’€™ve met so many great people up here. Out of football, my coaches, my teammates. We all have good relationships. I’€™m just happy and I’€™m looking forward to the upcoming season. I can only play football and control what I can control. Playing football. That’€™s what I’€™m trying to do now.

Did the possibility of getting fined influence your decision at all?
I was aware of that for awhile, but I wouldn’€™t say it played a big part in my decision to come here. I told you, that’€™s in my contract, to be here. I live up to my word. If it’€™s mandatory, I will be here. I don’€™t care what it is. You saw me at the golf tournament, so that could have given you guys a hint there that I’€™m going to be at this mandatory stuff because it’€™s part of my six-year deal. And I’€™m going to fulfill it to the best I can, and that’€™s playing football. I’€™m here playing football, doing what I love. Hopefully, we’€™ll move forward from this. But at the same time, I’€™m happy to be out here and concentrating on the future right now.

Are you concerned it might hurt your bargaining position?
Not at all. I could care less about that. They know who I am as a person and a player, so that don’€™t mean anything to me. That’€™s out of my mind. I don’€™t care about what bargaining ‘€¦ that don’€™t matter to me.

Why is it important to you to get your future settled during this year?
I mean, six years in and I want to get locked up because I don’€™t want to go on the free market. Because it’€™s a possibility if I reach that, I won’€™t be here. And I don’€™t want that to happen. That’€™s why I’€™m doing everything in my willpower that I can do to try and stick around and try to get something done before the end of this season. I’€™m pretty sure the Patriots are going to do the same thing. Like I said, there’€™s no bad blood between us. The organization knows me as a person and a player, and I’€™ve known the Krafts the same way and they know what type of person I am. But I can only do what I can do, and that’€™s play football.

On the labor uncertainty and the fact that money might not be there in a lockout or strike’€¦
I’€™m aware of everything. That’€™s one thing my wife and my agent they do keep me up on what’€™s going on around the league. I’€™m aware of everything that’€™s going on and what can possibly happen.

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