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Wilfork talks about negotiation, frustration and satisfaction

03.09.10 at 1:04 pm ET
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In his first interview since signing a long-term deal with the Patriots, Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork said there were a ‘€œbunch of times’€ he wondered about his future in New England, but in the end, the two sides were able to come to an accord.

‘€œIt was frustrating. It was very frustrating,’€ he acknowledged in an interview with Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots.com. ‘€œBut I guess that’€™s negotiation. We had to go through those things to get to where we wanted to get to.’€

Wilfork announced that the two sides had reached an agreement on a long-term deal via his Twitter account on March 5. Contract information was not made available, but ESPN is reporting the deal is for five years and $40 million, which includes an $18 million signing bonus and $25 million guaranteed.

The 28-year-old nose tackle, who just completed the final year of a six-year deal he signed as a rookie, said there were some anxious moments when the Patriots announced they were going to hit him with the franchise tag. (Wilfork had previously said that if New England was to hit him with the franchise tag, it would be a ‘€œslap in the face.’€)

But after an explanation that it was because both sides were working together on a long-term deal and not a indication of stalled negotiations, everything was OK as far as he was concerned.

‘€œWhen they placed the tag on and let us know what it was on for, it was fine,’€ Wilfork said. ‘€œBecause that showed me they were very comfortable in negotiations and getting towards a long-term deal, and we were comfortable with it too. It didn’€™t take overnight. It was a process. It took a while for us to reach a deal, but you know we finally reached one. Now, we reached one, and we can move on.

‘€œI’€™m excited. We’€™re all excited. And we definitely got done what we wanted to get done out of the deal ‘€” both sides,’€ he added. ‘€œWe both agreed on the deal. From the Wilfork camp, we’€™re happy. The organization is happy. Now, it’€™s all about football once again.’€

Here’s a portion of the Q&A, which can be heard on Patriots.com

On signing with the Patriots being what he wanted ‘€” you never seemed to have a real desire to leave:
Not at all. When I signed here as a rookie six years ago, going on my seventh year here now, the first thing I said is I want to start and end my career here in New England. And that’€™s been the motive all this while. I mean, did I get frustrated at times? Of course. That’€™s business. That’€™s negotiation. I’€™ve never been through negotiations. So certain things were pissing us off. And we have to go back and forth. I’€™m the type of person, I don’€™t like to go back and forth. I’€™m like, ‘€˜When is it going to be over?’€™ I think both sides, we work well together. Like I said, at times, it was tough. But that’€™s negotiation. That’€™s business. We play so much football, we forget there’€™s a business part to it. But by far, I never wanted to leave. My family ‘€¦ I think my kids are more happier than I am. Not the fact that it’€™s a long-term deal but now, we don’€™t have to move anywhere. I’€™m excited. We’€™re all excited. And we definitely got done what we wanted to get done out of the deal. Both sides. We both agreed on the deal. From the Wilfork camp, we’€™re happy. The organization is happy. Now, it’€™s all about football once again.

Was there ever a point where you thought it might not happen?
Oh yeah. There were a bunch of times, you though, ‘€˜Maybe I’€™m not going to get it done’€™ or maybe ‘€˜This is going to happen’€™ or maybe ‘€˜This could happen.’€™ It was frustrating. It was very frustrating. But I guess that’€™s negotiation. We had to go through those things to get to where we wanted to get to. I think once we realized ‘€¦ I said that if I get franchised, it would be a slap in the face, because I really didn’€™t know what the [definition] of the franchise tag was going to entail. But once we realized why they were applying it, it made a little more sense. It made it easier for my family and I to accept and continue to make progress toward a long-term deal. Which we did. So everything worked out. We used the tag for a time, and it gave us more time to put us toward this deal.

On the frustration ‘€” the most recent case’€¦
I think when the tag got put on, there were a few minutes that went through my head that were like, ‘€˜Is this a tag and trade, or what could it be?’€™ But like I said, that probably lasted only a quick five minutes, and we got on the phone right after that and it was basically like, ‘€˜Hey look. [We] put the tag on because we need some more time to come up with a new long-term deal.’€™ I think at that point, we felt that was fine. I think we both sent out something to the media that said the tag was put on for a long-term deal, working toward a long-term deal. And that’€™s what it came out to be. So I think that was the most ‘€¦. I think at that point, that probably the only time where I was like, ‘€˜You know what?  It’€™s 50-50 if I will be here or not’€™ because of a trade or whatever. And I really didn’€™t want to get traded. And I really didn’€™t want to go anywhere. It all worked out together. Like I said, when they placed the tag on and let us know what it was on for, it was fine. Because that showed me they were very comfortable in negotiations and getting towards a long-term deal and we were comfortable with it too. It didn’€™t take overnight. It was a process. It took awhile for us to reach a deal, but you know we finally reached one. Now, we reached one, and we can move on.

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