Is Vince Wilfork ready to hang up his cleats for good?
It's a question the 13-year veteran will be considering this offseason.
"At this point in my career, it's winding down, I've been thinking about it," Wilfork said Tuesday. "I just think every year once you get to this time in your career, for me, that I always think about what I want to do. This is one of the one's that I'm really sitting back when the season is over, I'm really going to take a look at what I want to do if I want to continue or not. It's the first time in my career that I actually have put any thought into it."
Wilfork has had an impressive NFL career in New England (2004-14) and in Houston (2015-16) so far, but the decision won't be easy. Among the All-Pro nose tackle's accomplishments are two Super Bowl championships (XXXIX, XLIX), four AFC Championships (2004, 2007, 2011, 2014), and five Pro Bowl nods.
For many NFL athletes, the decision to retire is based on injuries. That's not the case with Wilfork, who missed just one game in two seasons with Houston.
"It'll be tough," Wilfork said. "I'm not walking out banged up or without anything left in the tank. For me, it's more mental than anything. Do I want to continue to play the game? Like I said, that decision is going to be made after the season for me. But it is something that I'm thinking about."
This season, Wilfork has been part of a Texans defense that finished No. 1 in the NFL for the first time in franchise history. Houston allowed a league-low 301.3 net yards per game and gave up just 201.6 net passing yards per contest, ranking second in the NFL.
"To be in that position, get double teamed quite a bit, and to have the productive career that he's had, it's a testament to him, it's a testament to his toughness," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's a good teammate. Been a good leader here. I know this about Vince, he wants to play really well in the playoffs."
The Texans AFC Wild Card game against the Oakland Raiders will be Wilfork's 23rd career postseason appearance. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 3:35 p.m. CT on ESPN/ABC and SportsRadio 610.
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork's NFL career is chronicled.