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‘It’s a business’: Patriots owner Robert Kraft hopes to keep Vince Wilfork

Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots prepares to face the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots prepares to face the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is not happy with the team he has spent his entire career with. After being asked to take a pay cut, Wilfork asked for his release, but according to a report by ESPN on March 24, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is hopeful the team will be able to keep Wilfork.

In understanding the nature of the business, Kraft expressed how much he valued Wilfork as a man and as a player, but on the business side knows the team will not be able to afford $11.6 million that will count against the salary cap. Kraft explained the business side of football at the NFL’s owners meeting in Orlando.

“In modern-day athletics, in pro sports, it’s a business as well as commitment to one another. We have to work through [this], and I’m still not giving up hope that he’ll be part of our team next year.”

If it were up to Kraft’s personal relationship with Wilfork, the money would not be an issue as he described their bond as “very close.” But perhaps that is the reason Wilfork may feel disrespected by the pay cut offer. In also understanding the nature of the business, the 32-year-old team captain must’ve seen this day coming. At the same time, he may feel he is just that special to the owner as well as the team. Kraft certainly expressed how the team feels about a player like Wilfork.

“Going back over the last 20 years, we’ve had some pretty special people come through, and [Vince] is one of my personal favorites. I’m thinking of Tedy Bruschi and Matt Light and Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown, they made their careers with us. I surely hope Vince will be with us next year.”

Those players mentioned have ended their careers with the Patriots. For Vince Wilfork to do the same, some major work will have to be done for the two sides to meet and work something out that will be beneficial for Wilfork as well as the team. Coming off of a season-ending torn Achilles as well as his age is definitely coming into play.

The team certainly is not giving up. Otherwise, in the nature of the business, Vince Wilfork would’ve been cut with no second thoughts.

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