Vince Wilfork has acknowledged that he's thought about retiring, and now it sounds like maybe he's already embarked on that chapter of his life.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Texans general manager Rick Smith said on Friday that he doesn't believe the 35-year-old defensive lineman will be continuing his playing career in 2017.
"I haven't spoken to Vince Wilfork since last season," Smith said. "My expectation is that Vince is not playing anymore."
If that is the case, Wilfork will have played his final NFL game at Gillette Stadium when Houston fell in the Divisional Round to the Patriots a few months ago.
Wilfork, who is technically an unrestricted free agent, was named to five Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls in New England. He was also the No. 2 ranked Patriots player on Tom E. Curran's list of Top 50 Patriots in the Bill Belichick Era for his productivitiy, his longevity and his impact on the locker room.
After losing to the Patritos in January, Wilfork said he felt as though he was done.
“I’ll take my time to think about it, but I think I’ve played my last NFL game,” Wilfork said. “I’ll do my due diligence, sit back and see if I really want to retire. I enjoyed every bit of my career. I enjoyed 11 great years in New England, and I enjoyed two great years in Texas with these teammates, unbelievable teammates. I couldn’t have any better teammates in both organizations.”
As he trotted off the turf that night, he waved to the crowd, slapped the hands of Patriots fans lining the visitor's tunnel, and blew kisses to the those he couldn't reach overhead. He looked like a man who was saying goodbye.