Vince Wilfork recorded seven tackles in his return to Gillette Stadium. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — Thursday wasn’t the homecoming Vince Wilfork was looking for.
For the first time since the 2014 AFC championship game, Wilfork played a game at Gillette Stadium as the defensive tackle signed with Houston after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX.
In what was surely an emotional night for him, things didn’t go well on the field as the Texans were blown out by the Patriots, 27-0.
“Any time you get skunked it is embarrassing,” Wilfork said. “You’ve got to take it personally. If you don’t there is something wrong with you.”
Added Wilfork: “We came into Gillette Stadium and got smoked. We’ve got to regroup. They played a hell of a game. We’ve got to put this one behind us and move forward quick. It was a real surprise. What can you do? You’ve got to five them a lot of credit. They came ready to play and showed up and we didn’t.”
Wilfork finished the game with seven tackles, but the best moment may have come right before the Patriots’ first offensive possession of the game when a video montage was shown on the video board paying tribute to his 11 years and two Super Bowl titles with the Patriots.
He was very appreciative of the gesture as when the crowd stood and applauded, Wilfork acknowledged them with a few small waves.
“I had 11 great years here,” Wilfork said. “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 it was home. They drafted me. And for me to come back and show the respect they did it shows what kind of organization they are.”
Wilfork seems likely to return to Gillette at least one more time when he’s inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, as team president Jonathan Kraft alluded to before the game.