Tag Archives: Vince Wilfork

VIDEO: Robert Kraft Hosts Third Annual “Touchdown In Israel” Trip

Robert Alvarez
June 19, 2019 at 10:30 am ET

For the third time during his ownership of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft brought NFL players on a special trip to Israel.

On this most recent journey, eight current Patriots and seven alumni accompanied Kraft to help promote the game of football while providing inspiration to future generations of fans in Israel.

Check out their first day in the country courtesy of the Patriots Twitter account below.

Current Patriots players Stephon Gilmore, David Andrews, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn, Brandon King, and Nate Ebner all made the trip.

They were joined by former Patriots Andre Tippett, Drew Bledsoe, Jerod Mayo, Ty Law, and Vince Wilfork.

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New England ✈ Israel #TDinIsrael

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According to the Associated Press, Kraft will also receive the Genesis Prize on Thursday while in Jerusalem.

Mike Pennel Didn’t Have To Be Sold On NE, “Where I Wanted to Be”

Steve Balestrieri
June 7, 2019 at 6:20 am ET

The Patriots picked up one of the more under the radar free agents this spring and one who will play a key if an unheralded role in the defense. Mike Pennel came available after the Jets declined his option and the Patriots quickly swooped in and signed him.

Pennel, 28, who is listed at 6’4, 332 pounds fits what the Patriots like to do, especially on early downs with their defense. They want a big, immovable player to clog the middle, fill up the two gaps on either side of the nose and allow the linebackers to clean up.

That fits Pennel to a tee. While he was surprised that the Jets decided to decline his option, making him a free agent, he knew exactly where he wanted to go. He mentioned with the new coaching regime there, that they would be making changes. After the final minicamp practice, Pennel spoke with the media about his time thus far with the team.

“I knew I fit their scheme,” Pennel said. “It was my first visit and although I took others, I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

He said he was aware of how the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick use nose tackles in the defense and Pennel was rated as one of the best run-stuffers in the league last season. Much like a former Patriot legend, Vince Wilfork.

When asked about Vince, he said, “Vince was one of my idols as a nose,” Pennel said. “Coming out of Miami, I followed him closely. He was very productive early in his career and then settled into his role with Bill here.”

He added, “and then, later on, went to Houston and did the same thing. That played a big part in kind of being here. Just because knowing how Coach Bill (Belichick), what he does with nose tackles and things like that. Obviously, it’s fundamentals and technique, but he’s doing something special with those guys here to have them perform at that level.”

Pennel mentioned that his defensive line coach with the Jets has a connection with Pats DL coach Bret Bielema. “Bret was actually friends with, Robert Nunn,” he said.

“Joe Kim (Pats pass rush/martial arts coach) has some experience with Nunn, so it’s kind of the same technique and coaching-wise and nuances and little things like that they’re coaching but with, it’s just a lot more precise. Everything from the footwork, whether it’s three inches outside or six inches, everything is very detailed-oriented. We practice it and try to do it better on game day.”

He’s always striving to learn something every day, something he said he learned from B.J Raji in Green Bay earlier in his career.

Having been in the league for a while, Pennel said that he knew some of the players here and the transition to the locker room and the Pats DL room has been an easy one. “I definitely didn’t get the first day of school feeling here,” he joked, adding. “I’ve known Lawrence Guy and he hosted Pennel on a recruiting trip to Arizona State.

“I’ve kept in contact with him and have seen his success here in New England. I’m just learning the things that they like and don’t like and we’re just working things out.

Asked about how the interaction and feeling is in the DL room with some new faces (including himself), he said it is all positive.

“It’s excellent. It’s just a range of guys, and I try to pick something up from everybody,” Pennel said. “(Michael) Bennett, speaks for itself. LG, I feel as if he had a Pro Bowl season last year, so any run tips I can get off of him. Danny (Shelton… great pass rusher from the inside. (David) Parry’s been a vet. Ufomba (Kamalu), KD (Keionta Davis), they’ve got Super Bowls. It’s just everyone in there you can learn something from. I’ve never won a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I missed the playoffs for the last two seasons of my career, so those guys know a little something about playing in January, so I just try to pick up everything.”

Playing alongside Guy is a plus for him he added. “Knowing that he’s a top run defender in the league and last year I excelled a little bit in the run, so hopefully, we can do something good.”

So getting to play in January was a selling point for New England, he was asked?

“They didn’t have to sell that point,” he said laughing. “This is where I want to be.”

Best Of Social Media: AFC Championship Patriots vs Chiefs

Robert Alvarez
January 23, 2019 at 9:09 pm ET

The New England Patriots entered the AFC Championship game seeking their first AFC title on the road since 2004.

For the first time since the 2014 AFC Championship in Denver, the Patriots found themselves as the underdog in a playoff game.

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If you happen to be lucky…

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2️⃣6️⃣

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In the first quarter, Rob Gronkowski reached another career milestone to open the game.

Much like the Chargers a week ago, the Patriots again put together a lengthy scoring drive on their first possession.

Sony Michel logged the games first points and it was 7-0 NE midway through the first.

https://twitter.com/TheHall/status/1087138581817237504

More deja vu carried over from the Charger game on defense, as the Patriots pressured quarterback Patrick Mahomes early and often.

The Chiefs were held scoreless and it was 7-0 Patriots after one.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1087139297264775168

Just when it appeared the Patriots were going to jump out to a 14-0 lead to open the second, a Tom Brady mistake in the end zone gave the Chiefs much needed life.

https://twitter.com/Chiefs/status/1087142237849284608

Despite the miscue, the Patriots defense continued to keep the Chiefs high powered offense off the field.

With the Chiefs threatening for the first time late in the second quarter, linebacker Trey Flowers had other ideas.

https://twitter.com/davidortiz/status/1087150991252819969

With two minutes to go until halftime, Brady and the offense capitalized on their final possession and took a 14-0 lead into the locker room. .

Tom Brady can in fact, throw the deep ball.

14-0 Patriots at halftime.

Needing to desperately get something going in front of their home fans, Mahomes and the Chiefs finally woke up.

They’d score their first touchdown of the night in just under two minutes to open the second half.

Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce to cut the Patriots lead in half.

14-7 Patriots.

A Stephen Gostkowski 47 yard field goal pushed the Patriots lead back to ten at 17-7 after three quarters.

Then, just like the regular season meeting between these two, the floodgates opened in the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs quickly scored on a Mahomes touchdown to
Damien Williams to cut the deficit to three.

After the touchdown, the Patriots response stalled inside the Chiefs 25 when Rex Burkhead was stuffed on fourth down.

Momentum began shifting to KC.

https://twitter.com/Chiefs/status/1087167845534814209

Disaster nearly struck when Julian Edelman nearly fumbled away a kick return. The ruling after review stated the ball never touched him.

Unfortunately just two players later the Chiefs regained the ball anyway.

A fan ran on the field immediately after the interception.

Needing to take advantage of Edelman’s mistake, Damien Williams burned the Patriots again and the Chiefs had their first lead of the night with seven to go. 21-17 Kansas City.

Tom Brady and the offense fought back, but another crucial fourth down arose that could have ended the game.

Sony Michel had other ideas.

The Patriots regained the lead 24-21.

Again the Chiefs refused to die, feeding off the home crowd as Damien Williams found the end zone for a third time.

28-24 Chiefs but a full two minutes for Tom Brady to work with.

With 42 seconds remaining in the game, Rex Burkhead gave the Patriots the lead back at 31-28.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1087180994233262080
https://twitter.com/JDMartinez14/status/1087181405359165440

The 23 year old Mahomes showed no fear despite limited time remaining.

The potential league MVP had one final drive left in him as he set up a Harrison Butker 39 yard field goal to knot the game at 31 all.

For the second time on championship Sunday, the trip to the Super Bowl would be decided in overtime.

The Patriots won the overtime coin toss, and like in a previous Super Bowl, it would be the final drive of the game.

The Patriots overtime drive saw Tom Brady complete not one, but three 3rd and 10s that setup the winning score.

On second and goal inside the five, Brady handed off to Rex Burkhead to clinch the AFC Championship for the New England Patriots.

https://twitter.com/thecheckdown/status/1087189790045261826

A 37-31 final score that send the Patriots to an unprecedented third Super Bowl in a row and the fourth in five seasons.

https://twitter.com/Al_Horford/status/1087186654991998978
https://twitter.com/paulpierce34/status/1087189398729281536
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AFC champs! #yesssssirrrr

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TD-REX, FTW.

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On we go. #TeamDub

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“I LOVE YOU GUYS.”

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Reppin’ the East.

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W

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“ATLANTA, WE THERE.”

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We’ll see you in the A!

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Back to the Bowl!! Let’s go!!

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We’re coming home

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Local tradition. #BeatLA

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Vince Wilfork Named Patriots Honorary Captain For AFC Championship

Robert Alvarez
January 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET

The New England Patriots announced Sunday morning that former defensive tackle Vince Wilfork will serve as honorary team captain for the AFC Championship game.

Wilfork played 11 seasons of his 13 in New England, winning two Super Bowls at the start and end of his tenure. He finished his career with the Houston Texans, retiring in 2016.

In 158 career regular season games as a Patriot, Wilfork totaled 522 tackles to go along with 35 quarterback hits, 16 sacks, five forced fumbles and three interceptions.

“I’m very honored to be today’s honorary captain for the New England Patriots!!!” Wilfork said on Twitter.

The Patriots will take on the Chiefs for the right to go to the Super Bowl at 6:40 tonight on CBS.

Best Of Social Media: AFC Championship Jaguars vs Patriots

Robert Alvarez
January 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm ET

The New England Patriots entered their seventh consecutive AFC Championship game against the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars seeking to advance to their third Super Bowl in four years.

The Jaguars, who won just three games the year before, were riding high with optimism heading into Gillette Stadium after their upset road win in Pittsburgh a week earlier.

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⏳⌛️#itstime #letsgooooo

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This was last year…..#gopats #patriots #patsnation

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In the first quarter, it was the defenses that stepped up early, as the only scoring game from a Stephen Gostkowski field goal to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter, and for the second week in a row, the visitors found the end zone first against the Patriots, as Blake Bortles found longtime tight end Marcedes Lewis for a 7-3 lead.

The Jaguars weren’t done, as the Patriots offense struggled to find a rhythm against a tough defense, Bortles and his offense weren’t afraid as the underdogs and opened up a stunning 14-3 lead following a Leonard Fournette four yard run up the middle at the seven minute mark in the second.

Needing an answer before halftime, Tom Brady continued his mastery of the two minute drill this season as James White tallied another postseason touchdown to cut the deficit to four heading into the half.

To open up the second half, the Patriots defense stiffened, but Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo continued his career year and nailed a 54 yard field goal to push the lead back up to 17-10.

https://twitter.com/tengland150/status/955196828814802944

After three quarters the Jaguars maintained their lead at 17-10.

Early in the fourth quarter, Lambo tacked on another lengthy field goal from 43 yards to open up a 10 point lead in Foxboro.

The Patriots found themselves needing to make plays soon and often, and quarterback Tom Brady looked to the direction of wide receiver Danny Amendola to get them back into this game.

He didn’t disappoint, even on a crucial third and 18.

After the big third down conversion, another AFC Championship game flea flicker made an appearance, Brady to Phillip Dorsett.

The big pass setup an Amendola touchdown, and the Patriots were back within four.

The Patriots defense would make some clutch stops of the Jaguars offense, providing Tom Brady with enough time to complete yet another playoff game comeback, with Danny Amendola again providing the big touchdowns. 24-20 Patriots.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/955212917720326144

The Jaguars took over for the final drive, and on a fourth and long, cornerback Stephon Gillmore thwarted any chance of a response with a big pass breakup to turn the ball over on downs. The Patriots, who trailed by 10 early in the fourth quarter, would hold on for the 24-20 victory and win their second consecutive AFC title.

#superbowlcuts

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Call it a comeback. #NotDone

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“We’re going to the Super Bbbboooowwwlllllllll!!!!!!!” #patriotnation

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@tombrady really is the storm.

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sly I thought we had an understanding here… #gopats

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AFC CHAMPIONSHIPS #OneMore

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https://twitter.com/wilfork75/status/955214879069175810

AFC CHAMPS…Nuggy was turned up at the house LOL-Dmac

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Back to back!! My baby/My rider/My love! We coming for it all….. #notdone

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#afcchampions

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Super bowl bound

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Best Of Social Media: Week 15 Patriots vs Steelers

Robert Alvarez
December 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm ET

Entering Sunday’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the rivals squared off with the winner seeking the AFC’s number one seed and home field advantage for the playoffs with three games to go in the season. Tom Brady came into the game seeking to continue his dominance over the Steel City sporting a 7-2 regular season record.

gameday #LetsGooooo

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In the first quarter, the Patriots struck first, with Brandin Cooks immediately rebounding from last weeks struggles as he hauled in a 43 yard deep ball from Tom Brady which help setup the games first touchdown. Running back Rex Burkhead would bang it in from the goal line for an early 7-0 lead.

https://twitter.com/patriots/status/942512190262669312

The Steelers dynamic offense wasted no time and quickly responded to tie the game at 7 when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Eli Rogers on this 18 yard touchdown strike.

In the second quarter, both teams traded field goals to knot the score at 10, but Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski provided some highlights leading to the scores.

https://twitter.com/steelers/status/942515740527116288

With the clock winding down on the first half, the Steelers found the end zone for a second time when Roethlisberger found Bryant and the Patriots headed to the locker room trailing, but only by 7 at 17-10.

https://twitter.com/steelers/status/942524754916884480

The Patriots got the ball to open the second half, and in what would be a recurrence all night long, Gronkowski continued to haul in big yardage.

The reception would lead to Brady’s first touchdown pass of the game, but a Stephen Gostkowski extra point was missed, and the Patriots had to settle trailing by one at 17-16.

Like in the first quarter, the Steelers again responded as another member of the “Killer B’s” found the end zone when Le’veon Bell ran the ball in from the three, 24-16 Steelers after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Patriots defense began to tighten up for the first time all game despite third down struggles, and Tom Brady drove the Patriots into field goal range for Gostkowski to cut the deficit to five at 24-19.

With two minutes to go in the game, the Patriots were given one more opportunity to retake the  lead following a big third down stop. Brady and Gronkowski went to work.

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Courtesy of three big receptions for 69 yards, Gronkowski helped setup the go ahead score, an eight yard run by the former Pitt Panther Dion Lewis. 27-24 Patriots.

https://twitter.com/kvn_03/status/942550304314273793

The clock had just under a minute for Big Ben to try and rally, and his rookie wideout Juju Smith-Schuster provided instant life on an incredible 69 yard catch and run.

The play setup what appeared to be tight end Jesse James game winning touchdown, but the play was reviewed and ruled not a catch by the officals.

Despite the controversy that ensued the Steelers still had time for another play despite no timeouts, but instead of spiking the ball to setup a game tying field goal, Roethlisberger gambled with a pass, and the result was Duron “The Closer” Harmon.

An incredible goal line stand that brought back memories of Super Bowl XLIX, and the Patriots survived and won in Pittsburgh yet again while taking over the number 1 seed in the AFC and another division title.

A 27-24 final in a thriller and just two divisional games at home remain where the Patriots control their destiny for playoff positioning.

(.gifs h/t reddit and u/timnog)

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HAT AND T-SHIRTS!!!

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Great team win tonight !!!!!!! #AFCEastChamps #DLine #GoPats

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AFC East champs! #patriots #bigboys #myguys #LFG

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Best Of Social Media: Vince Wilfork Retires From The NFL

Robert Alvarez
August 10, 2017 at 9:40 am ET

On Wednesday, former New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork officially called it a career, signing a ceremonial one-day contact with the team making him “a Patriot for life” according to owner Robert Kraft.

Many of Wilfork’s old teammates paid tribute to him with emotional social media postings wishing him well into the next chapter of his life.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXgeFR7gvAF/?hl=en&taken-by=jerod_mayo51

goodnight sweet vince #airwilfork #retirement

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The Massachusetts State Police also shared a thank you to Wilfork, in case you may have forgotten his heroics of the field following the 2014 AFC Championship game.

https://twitter.com/MassStatePolice/status/895336906224836608

Best of Social Media: A Celebration of Tom Brady’s 40th Birthday

Robert Alvarez
August 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm ET

On Thursday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrated his 40th birthday as he continues his preparations for an 18th season in the NFL.

Many current and former members of the New England Patriots along with his wife Gisele took to their social media accounts to wish Brady a happy birthday.

Happy birthday to The Man, The Myth , The BRADY!! 40s the new…Nvm it's still 40!

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Happy Bday

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https://twitter.com/NFL/status/893198229751308289

Also to mark the occasion, the NFL shared some highlight videos of Brady’s career over Twitter.

WWE Wrestling legend Ric Flair also gave Brady a shoutout  with this iconic picture of the two of them.

https://twitter.com/RicFlairNatrBoy/status/893215821169922049

Lastly, after practice Thursday, Brady showed his appreciation for the local law enforcement agencies in Foxboro with a group photo op.

With Deadline Looming, Things Are About To Get Interesting With Hightower

Ian Logue
February 28, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

With the month of February about to come to an end, things are about to get interesting with one of New England’s key free agents heading into tomorrow’s 4pm deadline where teams will have to decide whether or not to use their franchise or transition tag.

As free agency approaches, Dont’a Hightower is one of the key players on New England’s roster set to hit the market as he looks cash in after a strong start to his Patriots career.  Despite injuries that have caused him to miss time over the past few seasons, the veteran linebacker has come up big when it’s mattered most, having made key plays against both Seattle and Atlanta during the team’s two recent championship runs.

That will obviously lead to quite a pay increase, with the likely question being whether or not the team will use the franchise tag or the transition tag as they look to extend one of their most important defensive players.  If the Patriots were to franchise Hightower, the move would guarantee his services for the 2017 season at somewhere between $14 million – $15 million while keeping other clubs away from their player.  However, using the transition tag, as Mike Reiss of ESPN recently suggested, would earn Hightower a reported $11 million and would allow the Patriots the opportunity to match any potential deal he may be offered by another team.

Reiss believes the transition tag makes more sense as it would be “a more affordable fallback option” while the club tries to work out a long-term deal to keep Hightower in New England.

The next question will be the current state of the discussions between the two sides, and whether or not Hightower would ultimately like to remain here.  He’s earned the respect of every player in the locker room and he’s become one of the most reliable defensive players for the coaching staff, with the veteran responsible for making the calls on defense as well as shouldering a big leadership role.

But Hightower holds a significant advantage here as the Patriots essentially put all their eggs in his basket after trading away Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins, with the team clearly believing keeping Hightower was the more important priority since there’s simply not enough money cap-wise to pay all three.  Given how things have played out, Hightower has proven them correct and if he walks, they really don’t have a viable replacement right now, which is a problem. Losing someone like him would be difficult, especially given his postseason contributions since players like Hightower are certainly hard to come by.


Hightower has become an invaluable piece in New England’s defense. (USA TODAY Images)

In terms of trying to figure out how things might play out, Devin McCourty’s situation comes to mind.  The Patriots opted against franchising the veteran safety and allowed him to test the market, which fortunately worked out after he entertained multiple offers before ultimately signing a long-term deal and staying in New England.  The big key to that process was likely the fact the negotiations seemed to remain relatively positive between the two sides throughout the time McCourty was fielding offers, which is one of the most important aspects for a player being wooed by other clubs.

The last defensive player who was franchised was Vincent Wilfork back in 2010 before eventually agreeing on a 5-year extension worth $40-million, but those negotiations leading up to when he was initially tagged weren’t exactly the best.

In late January that year Wilfork appeared on WEEI and one thing he talked about was the fact he honored his six-year rookie deal and he expected to be rewarded for everything he had done and didn’t feel the $7-million he would have received for the franchise tag that year was enough.

“I did honor my six-year deal. Now, that six-year deal is up. It’s time for me to move forward, with the Patriots or not with the Patriots,” Wilfork told WEEI via ESPN. “[The franchise tag] is decent money for most people out there. What I do, it’s OK.  But I don’t look at myself as an okay player.  Like I said, it’s just basically a slap in my face, and an insult to me, to tell me I’m an OK player.”

Heading into the deadline, Wilfork later admitted that it left him wondering how things would turn out before realizing how important he was to his team.

“When the time presented itself, especially with the tag – when it came to me – it was probably five minutes before we got on the phone and started talking,” said Wilfork about how things played out after he signed his franchise tender back in 2010.  “I think within those five minutes it was like, ‘OK, are they going to trade me or what’s going to happen now?’ Once we talked and found out the tag was getting put on because we were trying to reach a long-term deal I was very positive a deal was going to get done.”

That process ultimately worked out for Wilfork, but how things will play out with Hightower remains to be seen.  If his first choice is New England but he’s looking to find out what his true value is on the open market before making a decision, it’s certainly his prerogative to do so.  In the end, whether or not he wants to remain in New England will be up to him, but it looks like the Patriots will have their work cut out for themselves after Ian Rapoport recently reported that Hightower already turned down a deal that would have paid him a reported average of $10 million per season prior to the start of the 2016 campaign.

Now the only question will be how much it will cost to get this done.  Should they let him hit the market, it will be interesting to see exactly who might emerge as a contender for his services and whether or not his price tag might ultimately end up being too rich for New England, even despite his significant value to the team.

For now, we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow before we know whether or not Hightower will even get that opportunity.

ICYMI: Former Patriot Richard Seymour Joins Twitter

Robert Alvarez
January 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm ET

You can now add Richard Seymour to your following list of former New England Patriots on Twitter.

Over the weekend Seymour made his debut as former teammates and fans welcomed him into the ‘Twitter World”.

https://twitter.com/mrs75/status/819211131608825856

https://twitter.com/BigSey93/status/820699183334178817

A three-time Super Bowl champion in New England, Seymour retired following the 2012 season after four years with the Oakland Raiders. He is a seven-time pro bowler and was named to the NFL’s All 2000s Team. Be sure to check him out at @BigSey93