Updated 08:48 PM EDT, Fri, Jun 18, 2021

NFL News & Updates: Will Vince Wilfork Still Play Football? New England Patriots Decline Contract Option

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The New England Patriots have declined to pick up the option in Vince Wilfork's contract, making the defensive tackle a free agent once the new league begins on Tuesday.

In a statement on his Twitter account, Wilfork announced the sad news, adding that he is in "a good place" with a good relationship with the Patriots.

"Please know how blessed my family and I have been to be able to play 11 years in New England for an amazing organization. The love you guys as fans have shown me have been my inspiration year in and year out.... Your messages, your stories, your conversations and support always touch my heart. New England has been and always will be my home," Wilfork added.

Wilfork also maintained that he can still play football, a sport he loves dearly.

"One thing for sure is I will always be a fixture in New England forever... This will always be my home!! I won a Super Bowl my rookie year, I won one this year!! 11 years with one great organization. All I can say is I'm blessed, I'm thankful, I'm grateful... I will take my time think things through, take into consideration many things but mainly my family and see where life goes from there... But regardless remember I will always remain a New Englander, a Patriot forever," his statement went on.

According to ESPN, the Patriots' decision was already expected as the 33-year-old athlete was due a $4 million roster bonus on March 10 added to his $3 million base salary if the Patriots agreed to pick him up. This will reportedly give him around $8.9 million against the salary cap. "The Patriots create $8.06 million in salary-cap space with the move," ESPN added.

A similar Yahoo Sports report discussed that the Patriots had to make this decision since they are seriously considering the financial aspect of his contract and to retain cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Devin McCourty. It added that there are still other expected moves from the Patriots like receiver Danny Amendola who is also set to count $5.7 million against the salary cap.

But there is still a possibility that the Pats could agree to extend the defensive tackle's stay in New England, though Yahoo Sports said that Wilfork's statement could mean that he is possibly eyeing retirement.

In 2014, Wilfork returned to the league after tearing his Achilles tendon and was able to play 73.4 percent of the team's defensive snaps. He was taken by the team to take on multiple blockers against the run and provide a powerful pushing presence for the Pats.

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