FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork was voted into his fifth Pro Bowl, the NFL announced last night, and it's an honor that never gets old.
"Just appreciate everybody who voted," Wilfork said. "It's always an honor to get acknowledged for being in the Pro Bowl. That's always ver exciting for the wife and the kids. A lot of hard work so I'm very appreciative for everything, being a Pro Bowler and everything."
The defensive lineman was voted to the Pro Bowl in part because of his impressive numbers this season. He already has a career-high in passes defensed with six. He also has a career-high three forced fumbles and a career-high four fumble recoveries to go with 27 tackles and two sacks.
He insisted that the honor said more about the team than his own play, and he hinted at the fact that there were even more Patriots who deserved the honor than the seven named on Wednesday.
"All these guys, these guys work very, very hard," Wilfork explained. "There's probably some guys who got snubbed around the league. I know there's a couple guys out here who feel like they were snubbed. But you know what, just keep working hard, it'll pay off. We got a lot of guys in this locker room that was well deserving of being an All Pro and Pro Bowler so I was just lucky to get picked by my peers and everything, people I play against. It just shows a lot of guys respect what we do so I'm very happy with it."
Wes Welker, who set a record last week by recording the fifth 100-catch season of his career and was named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl, felt similarly. It's a nod that is a testament to the team, not just the honored player.
"It's definitely an honor," Welker said. "I think it's a reflection of how well the team has done this year. Hopefully we can just keep it going.
"I think it's a good reflection of our whole team and everybody coming out and trying to execute their job to the best of their ability. It's more of a team thing really than an individual thing I think around here."
And as nice as it is to be named to the Pro Bowl, none of the Patriots are really hoping to see Hawaii for the game. It would mean they didn't reach the Super Bowl, which will be played in New Orleans the following week.
"Team success is more important than any of this," said special teamer Matthew Slater, who was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year. "I'd rather be eating gumbo in New Orleans than pineapple in Hawaii. I think that the team has had a good year, and that shows by us getting individual awards. But really they're not individual awards. They're team awards and team honors and I feel like my honor goes to the rest of the core guys are out there with me."
Tom Brady (eight Pro Bowls), Logan Mankins (five), Rob Gronkowski (two) and Jerod Mayo (two) were also named to the Pro Bowl for their play this season.