For fans who are frustrated with watching New England’s run defense struggle each week, the good news is regardless of how the 2013 season ends up, there’s hope for next season.


Wilfork plans on being back in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork has been just a spectator since tearing his Achilles tendon back in Week 4 down in Atlanta, and he’s had to watch his defensive teammates battle with trying to fill his role in his absence. Since then New England has slipped to 21st in the NFL against the run, allowing an average of 112.2 yards per game through 14 weeks.

The good news is Wilfork continues to work hard on rehabilitating his injury and he’s even been spotted on the sideline in recent weeks likely trying to help offer any feedback and in-game advice that he can.  Hopefully he’ll be doing it in uniform next season, and he told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald on Tuesday night at a holiday shopping event at Bass Pro Shops that he plans on being back in 2014.

“I’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind. That’s not even a question,” Wilfork told Guregian. “People can worry about it. But not me. I’ll be back.”

It likely hasn’t worked out quite the way the team would have liked, with New England also losing Tommy Kelly thanks to a knee injury he suffered in Cincinnati.  That took out the Patriots two best interior linemen, leaving them to try and figure out how to pick up the slack.

Now Wilfork is left trying to do the only thing he can do, and that’s to continue trying to rehab his injury. It’s been a frustrating experience for him, but he believes like anything in life, things happen for a reason.  All that’s left to do now is for him to try and get himself healthy enough to hopefully be a contributor for this football team next season.

“It’s always frustrating.  The only thing I do, the only thing I know how to do is play football. And I can’t do it right now,” he said. “But things happen for a reason. The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll get healthy soon.”