Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has asked the New England Patriots to release him after 10 seasons, several media outlets reported Thursday.
The NFL Network, citing sources, first reported Wilfork was seeking his release. The Patriots have not responded as of Thursday night – at least not publicly.
Wilfork, a team captain, was placed on season-ending injured reserve in the first half of the last season after tearing his Achilles tendon. It was the first time in his 10-year career he missed a significant amount of time, but given his age (32) and his weight, some experts have wondered aloud if he’ll be able to return to his All-Pro form.
Wilfork is due $7.5 million in 2014 with a salary-cap hit of $11.6 million. The Patriots hoped to restructure his deal – possibly with an extension – to lessen the burden on their team salary cap, but those talks were apparently unsuccessful.
The Patriots used a significant portion of their salary availablity on prized free-agent cornerback Darrelle Revis on Wednesday.
Wilfork signed a five-year contract extension with New England in 2010. He was the Patriots first-round draft pick in 2004, and has been a fixture in the community and a face of the organization.