When Big Vince was released by the New England Patriots on March 5th, 2015, following his second Super Bowl championship with the only team he'd ever played for, it was one of those moments where almost everyone knew it was coming. Knowing it was coming didn't make it any easier for the team - or their fans - to say goodbye to Vince Wilfork, the man who started his Patriots career with a Super Bowl championship and left New England a champion - again.
So when the Houston Texans came to town last week for their Thursday Night Football showdown with the Patriots, a video tribute to one of the best defenders New England has ever had was a no-brainer - and as of today, it's on the Patriots' official website for you to watch over and over to your heart's content. The team played the video at Gillette Stadium during halftime during Thursday's demolition of the Texans.
Much like the big man himself did for ten years, the video delivers the goods.
And Wilfork, who you can see waving to the crowd at the end of the video, definitely appreciated the love. From ESPN:
"I had 11 great years here. The fans, my teammates, the coaches, it was awesome and I love my memories here. It just goes to show the mutual respect they have for me. I feel the same way towards them. I love them. This was home for 11 years. They drafted me. And for me to come back and show the respect they did, it shows what kind of organization they are."
That statement, right there, is Big Vince in a nutshell. As a player that, for a while, was one of the premier (if not THE premier) defensive tackles in the game, he spoke his mind, like when he called being franchise-tagged "a slap in the face", but also was well-known as a locker room force that called his teammates out when they played at a level he knew they were better than, and certainly gave credit where it was due when the defense got it done.
Next stop: Patriots Hall of Fame.
(Side note: why is the Butt Fumble not in this video?? That was Vince pushing the Jets O-line back into Mark Sanchez's face, after all.)