Vince Wilfork will not suit up again for the Patriots this season — he’s known that for more than two months.
But the 32-year-old defensive tackle told reporters Wednesday that he has every intention of making a full recovery from his torn Achilles in time for the 2014 campaign.
“I’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind. That’s not even a question,” Wilfork said, via the Boston Herald, in his first public comments since suffering the injury in Week 4. “People can worry about it. But not me. I’ll be back.”
The loss of Wilfork, one of the NFL’s elite run stuffers, left a crater in the middle of the Patriots defensive line. Rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones and veteran newcomer Isaac Sopoaga have stepped up in the absence of Wilfork and Tommy Kelly (lost to a knee injury in Week 8), but New England has allowed an average of 132.5 rushing yards per game — good for second-to-last in the league.
“It’s always frustrating,” Wilfork said of having to spend the bulk of this season on the sideline. “The only thing I do, the only thing I know how to do is play football. And I can’t do it right now. But things happen for a reason. The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll get healthy soon.”
The injury-depleted Patriots will try again to clinch a playoff berth this Sunday in Baltimore.