FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork was out on the field participating fully for the Patriots during their first training camp practice. Whether it was 11-on-11 work or agility drills that could stress his surgically-repaired Achilles, Wilfork made it through practice without any setbacks and said that he felt good after the fact.
"Long ways to go, but at the same time it’s exciting to get back going," Wilfork said. "The season has started for us. We just have to put the work in now and grind. Just keep your head down. It’s going to be a long season. It’s going to be a long camp. Hopefully we can put one foot in front of the other every day and just get better each day. That’s our goal, to get better each day."
Wilfork saw his workload gradually increase during OTAs and minicamp, and he completed enough during those sessions that once training camp opened on Thursday he was ready to take on whatever work was put in front of him.
"If I had limitations, I wouldn’t be practicing," Wilfork said. "My job is to help my teammates the best way I can, whatever that may be. The only way for me to help my teammates is to be on the field and be healthy. Right now, I’m on the field and I’m healthy. If anything happens in the future, I can’t predict that. But right now my job is to help this team the best way I can and get better each day and that’s what I’m going to do."
During periods when the first-team offense went against the first-team defense, Wilfork spent time alongside fellow defensive tackle Sealver Siliga. Chris Jones also worked into the defensive tackle picture while Tommy Kelly did conditioning work with a rehab group on a separate field.
Wilfork repeated multiple times that he feels good "right now," casting a hint of uncertainty on his long-term health. At 32 years old, and with a frame that measures in at about 325 pounds, he has come to grips with the reality that just because his Achilles has healed doesn't mean other ailments could crop up.
"I’m looking forward," he said. "Right now, I just feel good. I don’t know what’s going to happen further down the road but right now I feel good. I’m happy to be out here with my teammates."