FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In the first quarter of the New England Patriots' 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday night, the club used defensive tackle Vince Wilfork's return to Gillette Stadium for the first time as a visitor as an opportunity to publicly say "thank you" to him.
With one of Wilfork's favorite songs playing, Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight", highlights of Wilfork's career were shown on the video board. The highlights concluded with a message of thanks for "11 super seasons."
Wilfork acknowledged the gesture on the field by waving to the crowd.
After the game, Wilfork said of the moment: "I had 11 great years here. The fans, my teammates, the coaches, it was awesome and I love my memories here. It just goes to show the mutual respect they have for me. I feel the same way towards them. I love them. This was home for 11 years. They drafted me. And for me to come back and show the respect they did, it shows what kind of organization they are."
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, during his pregame interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub, spoke glowingly of Wilfork.
"I love the guy. To me, he'll always be a Patriot. I can't wait until we induct him into the [Patriots] Hall [of Fame] because I think that is probably a foregone conclusion," he said. "He was the heart and soul of not just the defense, but that locker room, for a number of years. He and Bianca were both leaders in their own way and they were everything you could want in a professional football player and his family on and off the field."