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Vince Wilfork: ‘I’m not ready to stop this year’

01.06.12 at 10:31 am ET
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FOXBORO — Vince Wilfork has seen more action this year at nose tackle than any year since coming onto the scene in 2004.

According to Pro Football Focus, he played in 978 of his team’s 1,134 snaps, a remarkable 86 percent of his team’s snaps. In Washington on Dec. 11, when he recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD for New England’s first score, he missed just one of 75 defensive snaps.

You would figure fatigue would set in eventually. Not for Vince, not this season.

“I never look at it,” Wilfork said this week. “I know I’€™ve played a lot this year, but I think everybody even guys that have played 20 plays or 100 plays less than me probably feel the same way as me. It’€™s just a long season when you’€™re talking meetings, you’€™re talking walkthroughs, you’€™re talking practice, and you’€™re talking more meetings and then you’€™re talking about games. There are a lot of weeks we’€™ve put into this season, definitely don’€™t want it to end soon. This week is a big week for us, so we have to [use] the time to actually get some rest and you know that’€™s a big, big step for us, I mean, that’€™s a big, big ‘€“ for myself and I’€™m pretty sure everyone in this locker room, coaches included.

“You get a chance to be just around your family and kick back your heels; don’€™t have to wake up too early. You know, just sleep in for once and your body knows when you need it. And I think this bye comes at a perfect time for us, but at the same time we have some work to do. While we’€™re here we’€™ll work, but when we do get our chance to get off our feet and get a chance to sit back and kick your legs up and watch some football over the weekend, take advantage of it. Guys have to take advantage of it because I’€™m planning on playing for a long time. I’€™m not ready to stop this year, not yet.”

Still, Wilfork is going to savor this weekend of rest, sitting back as the Bengals and Texans do battle on Saturday and the beat-up Steelers travel to Mile High to take on Tim Tebow and the Broncos on Sunday. The Patriots will be playing either the Bengals, Steelers or Broncos a week from Saturday night at Gillette.

“You know that’€™s one thing that we can do now. We have no control over who we play. One thing we do have control over is how we can prepare to better this football team, things that we can work on that can help us, the strengths that we have, continue to get better. It’€™ just things that the New England Patriots can do with each other that can make us a better football team. That’€™s one thing that we want to try and accomplish with this bye, so with that and being able to get healthy.

“That’€™s another main factor. It’€™s been a long season for everyone, so I mean, the coaches included, but I think we’€™ve worked our tails off. Like I’€™ve said, ‘€˜It hasn’€™t [always] been pretty,’€™ but 13-3 you have to be proud of something and to have a bye you have to be proud of that and if you can just get a little healthy ‘€“ a little bumps and bruises ‘€“ we’€™re you might need a couple of days of rest. You can get that now with these days that we have coming up. It’€™s always huge to take care of business early, but we have to been ready to play once this thing turns around next week we have to be ready to rock-n-roll and there’€™s no question in my mind we will be ready.

What will Wilfork do this weekend? Are you going to sit and watch football or what?

“Rest,” Wilfork replied directly and without any hesitation. “My biggest thing is rest. It’€™s such a long season and these guys in here need rest, need rest. Health is everything right now. The more you can take care of yourself [and] get the proper rest and when you have a chance to get it, it’€™s big. Of course I’€™ll look at football because it has a lot to do with what we’€™re going to be doing next week. So, resting, looking at football and looking at film, that’€™s what my mindset will be.”

As for changing the routine this week to avoid last year’s one-and-done outcome, Wilfork wants no reminders.

“Last year doesn’€™t matter,” he said. “Really, it doesn’€™t matter.”

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, houston texans, New England Patriots
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