Koppen's return with Broncos is nature of the business to Wilfork

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Koppen's return with Broncos is nature of the business to Wilfork

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork has been around long enough to know that, at the end of the day, football is a business.

So when he lines up across from former teammate and center Dan Koppen on Sunday, it'll be strange. That's human nature. But what's also human nature, is players coming and going.

And in Koppen's case, he signed with the Denver Broncos in early September, after being released from the Patriots.

But the last thing that Wilfork wants to do is make Sunday's game against the Broncos at Gillette Stadium about that.

"Being with him for nine years, I know Koppen a little bit," said Wilfork with a smile on Thursday. "He knows me also a little bit. So, it is what it is when it comes down to that.

"I don't think either one of us is any different. We want to try to win a ball game. It's Denver versus the Patriots, not, the Patriots versus Koppen or Koppen versus the Patriots."

As Wilfork kept pointing out, it's the nature of the business.

"We've seen guys come and go, and play against guys that had been here, that had been teammates before," said Wilfork. "And it's never been a problem. We don't want it to be a problem this week.

"It's the nature of the business. People come and go."

Wilfork found that out early in his NFL career, as he saw Willie McGinest get cut and then sign with the Cleveland Browns.

"Being here nine years, I've seen a lot of people come and go," said Wilfork. "I think the first one probably was Willie McGinest, when he left. It's strange, because you come in as a rookie, McGinest was one of the guys I looked up to, being a defensive player and him being a leader here. I actually watched him in high school.

"That was the first one, but that wasn't the last one. And it's not going to be the last one. So, you've got to take it in stride. You have relationships with guys, off the field relationships, and it is what it is. I'm here to do a job. That's to do my job at the best ability that I can. And it won't stop this Sunday."

Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

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Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

The congratulatory messages rolled in for Tom Brady following win No. 201 on Sunday. He heard praise from his teammates and coach Bill Belichick and he received a game ball from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Two of the guys he recently passed on the all-time wins list reached out as well.

Both Brett Favre (199 career wins) and Peyton Manning (200) touched base with the new record-holder after he surpassed the two retired quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. 

Favre posted a video online to show his support for Brady, which Brady saw after a friend sent it his way, he told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show.

"We were in touch this week a few times just with a couple of things that we were talking about football-wise," Brady said of Favre. "We exchanged some text messages, too. He’s a great guy. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to . . . There’s nobody physically or mentally tougher than that guy and endured the streak that he had. It was incredible. I’ve always really looked up to him. It was really cool."

Manning checked in, as he's wont to do, with something a little more traditional.

"I did hear from Peyton. He's someone that I've always been in touch with for a long time. I've known him for 16 years. He sent me a very nice note," Brady said. "I have a lot of respect for him and all that he accomplished, too. He's a great guy. We share a lot of things in common and I just always appreciate him as well."

Kirk and Callahan co-host Gerry Callahan acknowledged that the NFL sent out a tweet recognizing Brady's achievement, but he wondered if Brady had heard anything from commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady laughed when he heard the question initially. When he didn't respond at first, Callahan circled up again.

"I don't hear anything from the league," Brady said.