Wilfork: Long-term deal the focus

January, 10, 2010
1/10/10
5:30
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -– Nose tackle Vince Wilfork reiterated his desire to remain with the New England Patriots, but he emphasized that he would be upset if the team assigns him the franchise tag.

Wilfork has played out his initial six-year contract and he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. His ability to fully experience the free-agent market, however, could be restricted by the franchise tag (which pays a player the average of the top five players at his position on a one-year deal).

"I want a long-term deal," Wilfork said when asked about his situation following the team’s 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs. "That’s something me and my wife [Bianca], we want. We’re going to try to get a long-term deal done, that’s first and foremost."

Wilfork, who is the team's top free agent, said he could imagine himself playing for another team.

"This whole process I think was best for my family –- family first," Wilfork said of a year in which he didn’t attend voluntary minicamps in the spring as a statement of displeasure with his contract, but later showed up for all mandatory activities. "We'll attack it with what is best for my family."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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