Since being voted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Vince Wilfork has received congratulations from the three pillars of the Patriots dynasty.
Wilfork’s Hall of Fame announcement included a glowing statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who called him “a dominant defender in the trenches (who) anchored some of the best defenses in franchise history.”
One day later, head coach Bill Belichick — who once called Wilfork the best defensive lineman he’s ever coached — issued his own statement.
“Vince exemplified all the things that define football greatness,” Belichick wrote. “Vince’s rare physical ability was obvious, but it was his professional approach to the game, his competitiveness, toughness and dedication to the team that set him, and several of his teams, apart. Vince Wilfork is an all-time great player.”
Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chimed in with an Instagram comment on the team’s post.
“Amazing teammate and friend and always did things his way,” Brady wrote, adding two heart emojis.
Brady and Wilfork were the only two New England players to win championships in both phases of the franchise’s dynasty era. Wilfork was a rookie on the Patriots’ 2004 Super Bowl-winning team and won Super Bowl XLIX in his final game as a Patriot before spending his final two seasons with the Houston Texans.
Between those two titles, Wilfork made five Pro Bowls, one All-Pro first team and three All-Pro second teams, establishing himself as one of the NFL’s premier defensive linemen. The 40-year-old said Wednesday he’s “always regarded (himself) as one of the best defensive tackles and the best nose tackle to ever play the game.”
“We can leave it up for debate, but that’s just what it is,” Wilfork said. “Until you find a nose tackle that can play the positions that I played, let me know, and we can talk.”
Wilfork is the 32nd member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and the sixth to be elected in his first year of eligibility. Logan Mankins and Mike Vrabel were this year’s other finalists.