Based on the hard-line stance the league is taking on cheap shots, and on Vince Wilfork’s prior record of controversial hits, the New England Patriots defensive tackle is staring straight at the possibility of being suspended for next Sunday night’s game at Indianapolis for a hit he delivered Monday night versus Denver.
During the first quarter of Monday night’s win over the Broncos, Wilfork threw a blatant elbow at Jay Cutler after Patriots safety Rodney Harrison had knocked down the Denver quarterback.
As Cutler attempted to get up, Wilfork drilled the quarterback in the head with an elbow that caught the attention of the Broncos and the NFL. Ironically, the only penalty called on the play came against Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Harris — who defended Cutler, knocked down Harrison and drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
ESPN cameras failed to capture Wilfork’s hit. But the coaches’ tape did, and the league noticed it. Disciplinary action against Wilfork could come as early as this week for a player who already has a controversial hit on his resume.
Last September, the NFL fined Wilfork $12,500 for landing his right elbow on Bills quarterback J.P. Losman’s left knee. The elbow drew a penalty and knocked Losman out of the lineup, paving the way for Bills quarterback Trent Edwards to take over — and for the league to be monitoring Wilfork.
This time, Wilfork could be facing a fine, a suspension or possibly both.