Wilfork on flag: 'Protecting my teammate'

December, 23, 2012
12/23/12
5:25
PM ET
Following the first of two interceptions by safety Patrick Chung during the Patriots' 23-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, nose tackle Vince Wilfork was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty after he took exception to Jaguars offensive lineman Steve Vallos delivering a hit from behind to defensive end Trevor Scott.

Toward the end of the return, Vallos knocked Scott from behind and face first into the ground, which caught Wilfork's attention and led him to do the same to Vallos. After the game, Wilfork explained he was protecting a teammate.

"That was protecting my teammate, plain and simple," he said of the penalty. "You're not going to sit right in front of me and take a cheap shot at my guy with me standing behind you, that won't fly. Plain and simple. I'll probably get penalized for it, I did, but at the same time, you'll never see me letting my teammates just get cheap-shotted like that with me standing right there.

"It is what it is, it's part of football. Some people might not like it, some people might like it, but I'm going to do everything I can to protect my teammates," he continued. "And I was protecting my teammate. But it is what it is, and I don't think twice about it. If it happened again, I'd protect my teammate the best way I could."

Wilfork, a leader of the Patriots defense, finished with one tackle on the afternoon.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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