INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Belichick has learned not to gamble against the mysterious abilities of Vince Wilfork.
The Patriots coach, donning suit and power tie, met with reporters Monday and shifted into gush mode when asked about his mammoth defensive tackle.
“Vince is a really good athlete, as you can see from all his interception returns and open-field running and those kind of plays,” Belichick said. “… I made a big mistake his rookie year, when I made a bet with the team about a night off or no night off and put Vince back there to catch the punt, and — soft hands — didn’t even hear the ball hit his hands.”
Belichick should have known this wouldn’t end well. Wilfork later told a crush of reporters about his storied run at Santaluces Community High School in Palm Beach County, Fla., where he dabbled at almost every position on the field.
Wilfork was a force of nature against opponents more into dating redheads and learning how to drive, but he quickly discovered that one position — running back — wasn’t in his wheelhouse.
“At running back, I got back there, got handed the ball (and got hit) by a guy that was probably 5-4, 120 pounds, he hit me so hard — I dropped the ball and everything,” Wilfork said. “I never ran the ball again.”
A proud hour for 120-pound men worldwide, but Mount Wilfork has made running backs pay ever since.
— Marc Sessler