FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork knows his team isn't being given much of a chance to win Saturday's matchup with the Patriots. When asked about being double-digit underdogs during a conference call with New England reporters Tuesday, he didn't quite play the Rodney Harrison "disrespect" card. But he made his feelings known all the same.
"I think last night we [saw] a game in Alabama-Clemson, these so called experts had Clemson as the underdog," he explained. "In '07 the experts had the New York Giants as underdogs, and both those teams went out to win the Super Bowl and national championship. It goes to show you what these experts know.
"We don't pay attention to outside what people have to say about us or how good or how bad we are. I think this team is a close-knit group. We play well together, and we keep everything as a family. We approach everything the same, win or lose. We win as a team, we lose as a team. I don't think anything outside . . . [will impact] how we'll go up there and how we feel because of what somebody else said. We're going to go out and play our tails off."
If they don't they'll be going home, leaving their 2016 season in the rear-view. For Wilfork, who has hinted at the possibility of retirement this offseason, it could mean he plays the last game of his 13-year career in the stadium that he called home for 11 seasons.
"At this point in my career, that's something that I'll think heavy about once the season ends, and see what I really want to do," he said. "It's hard to walk away from something that you love and have been playing for so long. But we can't play the game forever. That's a decision I'll make at the end of the season and give it some time and some thought and I'll weigh different things and go from there.
"But whenever I make that decision, I'm full-fledged making the decision. I won't be one of those ones to say no I'm not retired and coming back and play that game. When I hang my cleats up, I'm gonna hanging them up for good."
00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.
05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.
10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati.
16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.
This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats.
As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions.
The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around.
“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”
In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game.
If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone.
Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016.
With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1.