Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wilfork's work in 11-on-11s a big step for the big man


New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork's presence on the practice field of late has been inspiring. It got even better this week.

The veteran defensive tackle, coming off a season-ending ruptured Achilles at the end of September of last year, was reportedly in action for 11-on-11 drills Thursday.

While that seems like a small thing, given that it's only spring rehearsal, it's a big one for him. Maybe even moreso for his teammates.

"Just seeing him back out there is a very, very big asset; it’s great," linebacker Dont’a Hightower said after practice, via ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. "Having him in front of you is like a big force field, especially being a linebacker, but for the team as well."

According to Reiss, the 32-year-old lineman looked good and showed some explosiveness, and though he wasn't a full participant, it was a "significant step."

Wilfork will again try his hand this season alongside and in rotation with veteran Tommy Kelly, who also got hurt last season, though first-round rookie Marcus Easley will jockey for position in the starting lineup while Chris Jones, Joe Vellano, Armond Armstead and Sealver Silga battle for roster spots.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily