Sports

Heavy praise from Wilfork

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FOXBOROUGH — For the third straight season, the ever-durable Vince Wilfork started all 16 games for the Patriots in 2012, and had one of two younger players next to him during the year: Kyle Love or Brandon Deaderick.

But both of those players were released in the offseason, leaving the Patriots thin at defensive tackle.

Question marks remain about who will serve as the backups at the position, but the answer to who will start alongside Wilfork has become obvious: Tommy Kelly. The veteran, who has not missed a game in five years, signed a two-year deal with New England in April, putting him miles away from his first NFL home in Oakland, literally and figuratively.

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