Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/25/13
Vince Wilfork handled question after question about Aaron Hernandez like a true professional — not that anyone would expect anything different from the defensive tackle in his 10th season with the Patriots. When he said he felt sad and disappointed about the situation, you could feel that he truly meant those words. He stressed that Odin Lloyd‘s death and the investigation surrounding it is “real life” and “more than football.” But as solemn as Wilfork was as he spoke to the media for 15 minutes on the team’s practice field, you could tell the 325-pounder just wanted to get back to his job: foootball. The defensive lineman said as much when asked how he felt about putting the helmet and pads on after such a strenuous offseason. “That’s funny because every year you’ve been away from football for so long that you do get eager to put on football pads and helmets,” Wilfork said. “But this year it’s like, it can’t come any sooner. But you have to let everything take its course — control what you’re gonna control and that’s playing football, getting better as a team. That started today. Hopefully we’ll get better from here on out.” Most of the starters on defense are returning from last year, outside of Wilfork’s immediate group. The interior linemen saw a huge overhaul with Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick and Myron Pryor gone and Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Cory Grissom, Armond Armstead and Anthony Rashad White taking their place. When asked how the new players are adapting, Wilfork elected to take a wait and see approach. “We’ll find that out sooner than later. I’ll tell you that. Tomorrow we get after it and I’m very excited,” Wilfork said. “Every year I’m excited and this is another year I’m excited to get back going with the new teammates I have, old teammates we have. Just the things that we do. Just to see ourselves as a team. Line up and run through some plays. It’s not going to be all pretty . It’s not going to be all perfect. Just to have an opportunity to do it, I’m very excited about the season.” The Patriots have had plenty of success ever since Tom Brady took over at quarterback. The team has only missed the playoffs once since Wilfork was drafted in 2004, and that was the season Matt Cassel was playing quarterback. Wilfork said the team can’t just rest on their laurels, though. They have to continue to work hard and strive to get better. He said this season may be even more challenging than normal. “I think everybody that we have here, they can help us win. But we have to do the work,” Wilfork said. “We can’t just come out here and expect to get better by not doing anything. We have to come out here and work our tails off. Every year we do it. So it shouldn’t be any different this year. We’re probably just going to have to work a little harder and lean on one another more. Support one another more.” The Patriots will have plenty of distractions this season, but trying to avoid those may just force them to be more dedicated to their getaway: football. If the entire team can take on their defensive captain’s mindset to avoid the noise by burying their face in a playbook or spending more time in the weight room, the team should have no problem putting together another winning season. Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here. Filed under: Doug Kyed, New England Patriots, Top Stories

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, trade viewed as likely

Report: Vikings don’t want Bridgewater playing on London field

Joe Mixon: ‘I can do way more’ than Le’Veon Bell with increased workload

Joe Thomas will reportedly miss rest of season with torn triceps

Are the Steelers going to give Martavis Bryant what he wants?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fifteen biggest surprises so far in 2017-18 NBA season

Top 10 storylines for 2017 World Series

Report: Nationals to interview Dave Martinez for manager job

Baldwin: Sideline spat with Cable was ‘100 percent my fault’

Elliott will play in Week 8 after judge denies request to expedite case

Genie Bouchard recalls SB bet during latest Pats-Falcons game

Path to the 2017 World Series - Houston Astros

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker