Bruschi senses that Wilfork’s letter was a goodbye.
“It’s the evolution of a roster. You get to be turning 34. I was turning 36. There comes a time … you don’t have 20-year careers in the NFL,” Bruschi said. “Vince is enough of a veteran to realize that. He probably saw that it was coming. The letter that he wrote was all class, to the fans of the New England Patriots. I think that, right there … was a farewell from him and his wife Bianca.”
Bruschi was asked about possible fits around the NFL for Wilfork.
“I don’t see a team that can’t use a Vince Wilfork,” he said. “He’s not going to give you 10 to 12 sacks. He isn’t that explosive one-gap pass rusher, but in terms of a first- and second-down player that can take on blocks, if I’m a linebacker, I’m throwing a party if we sign him. Right now, it’s a sad day if you’re Dont’a Hightower or Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, those type of linebackers that play for the New England Patriots, because the reason why you’re successful as a linebacker is because of the Vince Wilforks of the world. …
“Individually, I benefitted from having big No. 75 in front of me, and knowing what he could do against one blocker, against two blockers,” Bruschi said. “I always looked at Vince Wilfork as the defensive lineman that he was, but he had the mind of a linebacker. I remember making calls where the defensive line would have to shift, or would have to take a gap to their left, or to their right, those adjustments they’d have to make – “Lucky! Ringo! Shift!” – things like that. Vince would already be doing those things, and he would be communicating them to the defensive linemen next to him. So I think that’s a big thing the team will be missing next year, not only his physical ability. I know they run a 4-3 scheme there, but it has two-gapping principles and that’s what Vince was so good at. But also those young linemen, like Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, those type of players, will miss his leadership and contribution along the defensive front.”