FLORHAM PARK — At this point, Vince Wilfork and Nick Mangold should just get an octagon. They’ve had heavyweight bouts in the trenches over the years and the Jets expect their Pro Bowl center to be healthy enough for another round with Wilfork this weekend.
Mangold, who stayed late at the Jets practice facility last night getting treatment, hopes to play this weekend for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks ago against Jacksonville, and in the Jets’ eyes, not only are they getting back the best center in football but also a player that has Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork somewhat solved.
Matt Slauson, the Jets’ fourth year guard, went as far as to say that Mangold had Wilfork “figured out.” Mangold reined the hyperbole in a bit. “I definitely don’t have him figured out,” Mangold said. “God bless him for saying such things.” But he explained the battles the two big men have had in the trenches over the past seven years.
“Vince and I have had great battles. We’re going on six years of battles now. Vince has gotten me. I’ve gotten Vince. There’ve been some draws. That’s just been the flow of it. He’s a heck of a player that’s got size and speed. What really set him apart from the rest of the D-tackles is the technique. He plays the technique perfectly and that makes it very difficulty.”
In the event this round ends in a draw, Mangold laughed off the idea of settling it by racing Wilfork, who’s had two long interception returns this season. “I’d definitely win that,” he said, joking.