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Vince Wilfork Press Conference Transcript - 9/22/2011

Posted Sep 22, 2011

Read what New England Patriots NT Vince Wilfork had to say as he addresses the media about his new "Tackling Diabetes" initiative and the team's upcoming matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

VW: First and foremost, I'd like to thank EMD Millipore and Joslin [Diabetes Center] for teaming up with me and doing some cool things throughout the course of the year and hopefully in the future. I'd like to thank them. Some of you guys may know - you might not know - my relationship with diabetes comes from my household, growing up in a household with my father being ill for 13, 14, 15 years. As a kid, I'm nine and 10 years at the time, seeing my father going through what he had to go through. I had to give him shots at times, he was so weak. I had to bathe him, had to take him to the restroom. There was a lot going on that my brother and I had to deal with. That's why this is really close and dear to my heart. I know how it can affect a household firsthand because I was one of those people that had to deal with it. Luckily, God blessed me where I could be a healthy young man and blessed my family to be healthy, but not everybody is able. That's why it's very, very close and dear to my heart to actually come and bring more awareness to raise money to try to find and try to fight and tackle this disease, because it affects us more than we think. I know a lot of people probably have friends and family members that are cancer patients, they're beating [it] - I put it right up there with cancer. Every year I throw my draft day fundraiser to raise money for diabetes. There's not one year that comes and goes that I don't get new people either showing up to my doorstep or showing up to the fundraiser just telling me stories about how they are affected by this disease. Through the years, we've raised a lot of good money. Last year, I think we raised over $100,000, so it's growing. One thing I want to do is to get my fans and my team involved with this. Everybody knows playing football is not just one individual, so I think that's where the fans and friends can play a huge part in this. We need a team effort just like I need a team effort on Sundays. It's going to take a team effort. We have the greatest fans. I can't tell you - I'm happy to be where I'm at with the fans and with the team I have. From the organization down to the teammates down to the fans, we [are] one classy organization and one classy fan base. You guys really pull through for us at times. This is going to be one of the times that I'm going to ask for help. I'm doing it, my wife is doing it, I have friends doing it, my brother is doing it - it's a lot of people. We're involved also. It's not that I'm just asking everybody else for money; I'm actually putting money up myself. There's where we're at with this. Once again, like I said I want to thank EMD Millipore and Joslin for getting me on the team and hopefully we can be successful with this and hopefully I can report back to you guys how well we're doing with it. It's going to be something fun. It makes me more excited now to go out and make tackles for a cause. That just adds one more element to my game that makes me play even harder now. That's where we're at with that.  

Q: How important is it for people to go out and get tested?  

VW: It's very important, especially as an African-American. But you know what, it's not just African-Americans. Like I said, every year it's someone coming to my doorstep. The one thing that kills me the most, when I get a four-year-old or five-year-old kid with juvenile diabetes that eats me up. Because the first thing I do - I have three kids and they're healthy. I have a two-year old, an eight-year old and a 14-year old today and they're healthy and I just thank God for that. It's very, very important; just go get tested. I tell my teammates the same thing. Just knowing what it can do to a household and you can go all your life without knowing. It's an unknown. You get a little finger cut and you have to get stitched up and they run blood work and all the sudden they find out you're diabetic. That's not easy. We try to push people to go when they're actually feeling good, before it's too late. That's one thing I'll continue to push. I tell guys every time I see them, 'Hey go get tested. Even if you think you're okay, still just go get tested to make sure you're healthy.'  

Q: As a defensive tackle, you kind of fly under the radar a little bit. With your interception on Sunday, you were in a lot of the highlights this week. Is that odd for you to be in the highlights so much and is that something that can help with something like this?  

VW: Yeah, you bring up a good point. I care less about being in the spotlight, being the one guy that people talk about all the time, getting pats on the back - positive or negative. I really try to be a professional about it and move forward. This is something probably can actually help - going out and making the big play last week and then following up with something that is close and dear to my heart. Hopefully it works. I hope so. Like I said, with the fans and the support that we have around here, I don't think I'll have any problem getting some support from everyone. I'm looking forward to it. I'm happy. I believe it's going to be a fun year, it's going to be exciting, it's going to be cool, something new to change up and [we'll] see how well it does.  

Q: In spite of what you just said, it's impossible to turn in any direction the past few days without seeing that play. How has your life been different this week because of that play?  

VW: Well, I wouldn't say different. When I go places and the first thing people want to talk about was that play. I have some people telling me 'that's the greatest play they've ever seen' and they're 60 years old. So I'm like, they've been around for a long time, I'm pretty sure they've seen a lot of football, so to rank that one of the best they've seen, that's an honor. As a player, you play so many years, you play so many times - I can't tell you how many times I've put my hand down in the dirt and the last thing I'm thinking about is an interception or a fumble recovery. [The] only thing you think about is doing your job. I talk to my teammates, defense, all the time. There's going to be certain plays in the game that you can steal, that's just the nature of the beast. There's going to be certain plays that you can steal. There's going to be certain plays you might not like the call, you might get a funky look on offense and you'll have to check to something - you have to get through those, you have to manage those. I was just lucky to actually steal one. And that was one of things that gave us the momentum going into halftime.  

Q: Is there any particular person from your past who you heard from that you don't usually hear from as a result of that play?  

VW: My brother. Most of the people that I'm still close with, I keep in contact with on a daily basis or a weekly basis, so there wasn't anyone out of the blue that just popped up and said anything about it. A lot of people tweeted me about it - people that I'm not in contact with, but they sent a tweet just congratulating me and everything. It's been cool. I know I can't live on that play forever, I have to turn the [page]. It's a good week to turn, because with Buffalo, they're playing some good football.  

Q: When did you first see the play? In the locker room after the game or at home that night?  

VW: The first time I saw that play was actually Monday, when I came and watched film. I wasn't coming in just to watch that play, I was actually coming in to - I always look at the game before we go in as a defense to look at it to see and critique myself, see what we did well, see what things we didn't do well. When I got to that play, I slowed it down, I looked it at a couple times. I wouldn't lie to you; I looked at it just a couple of times. That was the first time I saw it, but my wife was all on it. She had the papers, she had the SportsCenter stuff. Whatever was out there, she had, trust me. But I'm kind of laid-back. I try not to let that affect anything that's going on in the future, especially with this week. The last thing I can do is go out here Sunday and play the worst game of my career and everybody turns to me and says 'Hey, if you weren't thinking about the interception, you probably would have played better.' So I have to turn the page on that after this.  

Q: What do Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller bring to the game?  

VW: I tell you what, Fred Jackson, he is so underrated. This guy, I think I said it a couple of years ago and I know I said it last year: he is so underrated. He's just one of those tough backs. You can give him the ball 30 times if you want to. And Spiller, he's just speed. He will kill you on the ground and in the air. Those two together make a good team, a good running attack. So, we have our hands full. It's going to be challenging for us once again. I think every week so far we've been challenged. We've been playing some tough opponents. This is our second division game on the road. We played the Chargers last week, coming here for a home game. It doesn't get any easier for us. We're going to have to go on the road and play some good football if we want to walk away with the 'W'. But it's going to be tough, I guarantee you that, because this is a new Buffalo Bills team. They're 2-0. Looking at them on film, they're making big plays after big plays. They actually look pretty good. It's not smoke and mirrors with them; they're the real deal and that's how we approach it. Right now, no consecutive games, how many we won against them, that doesn't have anything to do with this year. It's going to be a tough-fought football game.  

Q: How different is it this time? They're 2-0 and you don't typically hear that Buffalo is the top scoring offense. How much respect have they've garnered at 2-0 and being the talk of the league?  

VW: I'll tell you what. If you look at it, if you combine last year, they [were] 4-4 toward the end of the season so that would put them at 6-4. They picked up where they left off. If you just look at the way they played last year at the end of the season and they came right back in and picked up where they left off, it's not surprising. I'll tell you that, it's not surprising. They didn't do anything but just add more to their team that's going to help them. It's not surprising to anyone around here that these guys are actually on a roll. They're playing some good football. They're coached very well in all three phases. Their special teams is always at the top of the list. Special teams alone can win ball games and we know that. It's nothing different from us. We just know how important it is to go on the road to play a division team, especially a team that's playing some good football. To start off in Miami and come to San Diego, things are starting to settle down just a little. We still have some work to do. Right now, you see what certain teams are doing and what they're trying to do and this is one of those weeks where we see where Buffalo can head with this and right now they're heading in the right place. We're going to have to do a real good job of playing some good football because if we don't, we'll be coming back here with an 'L.'