Wilfork: No limitations on repaired Achilles

Wilfork: No limitations on repaired Achilles
June 19, 2014, 2:30 pm
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FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork quickly bounced out of his three-point stance and punched one tackling dummy. Then another. He moved with power and purposed. He did not look like a 325-pound man coming off of Achilles surgery.

Throughout OTAs and mini-camp, Wilfork has seemed to slowly progress in his workload, going from a limited participant to one who looked as though he could handle any drill -- including 11-on-11 work -- with his teammates.

He said on Thursday that he has no limitations in what he can do on the field.

"I'm not surprised," he said. "I know there's a bunch of stats and everything going against a person of my size with this injury, but right now I can't ask to be any better. Of course you have to play. When that time comes it comes. Hopefully I'm ready for it and we'll see. But that's in the future right now. I'm just focused on getting better, continuing to get stronger. I've got about a month or so before we get to training camp. Before I get to training camp, I should be at a point where I'm very, very happy."

Wilfork said that dealing with the injury, which he suffered in September during a game against the Atlanta Falcons, was difficult since he had never experienced a season-ending ailment in the past. In fact, in his nine seasons before last, he played 16 games in all but two. In 2006 and 2009, he played in 13 games.

Not being out on the field on Sundays was foreign to him. But the way he was embraced by his teammates, and leaned on by them for information, helped him deal with his longing for football.

The same went for the coaching staff that allowed him to travel with the team and roam the sidelines long after he was placed on injured reserve.

"That's the first time in my career I was taken away from something that I love at this level," Wilfork said. "It was something new. I just had to take the good with the bad. The bad was i was injured. The good was I had teammates that still looked up to me asked me questions. The coaches, everybody, they were so awesome to me. 

"To be around the guys, to come in and go to meetings, go and travel with them and stuff like that. It kind of eased my mind a little bit. But it hurt to see guys lose because it's one of those things, I wasn't out there physically to help them. But the past is in the past now. I'm at a level where I'm back at something I love to do. I don't take it for granted. Never have and I never will. But just being out, being away from it, it had me reflect on some things, and I did. Any person would. Especially at my age or whatever. I did. But it's too easy to give up. I'll never give up something i believe in, that's football and this team. As long as I have my teammates and coaches supporting me, I'll be fine."

Wilfork spoke like a player who both had something to prove, yet he emitted an air of unmistakable confidence at the same time. As far as he's concerned, he knows he can get back to the level of play that he's used to. It's just going to require continued work.

"Everything you do in life, there's always something that says you can't do it or you shouldn't do it because of this or whatever it may be," he said. "For me, I know my body. I know what it takes to be at the top of my level, at the top of my game. I know how hard it's gonna be. I've never shied away from competition or a challenge, and this is a big challenge for me. First time in my career getting sidelined from an injury -- a major injury. Everything was new to me. 

"It's something I had to learn to do to be patient and focus on just rehabbing and just building up the strength and the confidence to be able to move and play. That confidence is gonna continue to get built throughout practices, throughout rehab, throughout strengthening, conditioning, whatever it may be. It's gonna be a growing process. I'm up for the challenge. Like I say, I can't be any happier than where I'm at right now. As long as everything keeps going the way it's playing, I'll be fine."