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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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