Sorry if that headline’s a little misleading. Vince Wilfork hasn’t signed any contract extension, yet.
But he did put a sign up in his locker in September as a reminder to himself of what his approach needs to be — It reads, “Do my job.” So I thought the relevant question to ask here was whether it’s to keep him from going outside the defense scheme to make plays, and get attention.
Y’know, kind of a contract run? Vince scoffed at the notion, and passed on his own feelings on the simple idea of the “contract year” athlete.
“Me, I’m a ballplayer,” Wilfork told me. “Since I signed up to play football, I played from the time I got in it to the time I’ll retire. Not because it’s a contract year, that’s not me. And I think guys who do that, that’s … that’s not me.
“Guys who do that, I mean, it’s just my opinion, I don’t like it. I just control what I can control, I play football. That’s what I do for a living. You don’t have to worry about me playing just because it’s my last year, because that’s not the case. I want to get better each year.”
As for the sign itself, it was an idea Wilfork came up with during a film session following the team’s loss in New York in September.
He thought he needed the reminder. If others caught on, even better.
“It’s easy to come in and forget what you’re here for,” he said. “A lot of things going on earlier with me and with my contract, that was one thing I wanted to make clear to myself. So every time I come to my locker, I remind myself what I’m here for. That’s to do my job. That’s one thing just to remind me, because I have to sit at this locker every day, so I have to see that every day. Every time I see that, it reminds me what I’m doing, why I’m here, it makes me get in my book even more.
“If I put it in my playbook, I won’t ever see it there. Where can I put it so I see it every day? My locker. I see every day, some times too much. Even if I don’t stop at my locker, I walk by and see it. I’m pretty sure a lot of guys on the team see it too. They say stuff about it. It just reminds me why I’m here, and that might be rubbing off on some of the other guys. Do your job. It’s gonna stay there, long as I’m here.”
Bill Belichick’s said in the past that Wilfork’s as versatile a nose tackle as he’s coached, and the big guy proved it again last weekend, starting as a 5-technique end and playing the majority of the snaps, further poking holes in the idea that he’s not a three-down player.
Wilfork didn’t want to say he’s playing the best football of his six-year career, but he did allow that he’s playing well right now.
“Hopefully, I can keep it going,” Wilfork said. “That’s my main thing, just keep it going. We’re in a stretch now, where we have to play our best ball. We understand that. We understand we’re in November, we need to play some good football, if not we’ll have a long offseason.”