- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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RICHMOND, Va. -- New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said his previously torn Achilles has responded well to the demands of training camp and that his work to shed weight this offseason was done with his injury in mind.
Wilfork’s acknowledgement was one the biggest takeaways from Monday’s joint practice session with the Washington Redskins.
“I feel fine. To me, that’s in the past. I don’t even think about it,” he said after a practice that lasted about two hours. “From the first day I stepped on the field with full pads back at Gillette [Stadium], I knew I could move around and play on it. I really didn’t think much of it after that. It’s an afterthought to me right now.”
In Monday’s practice, Wilfork showed that he’s moving well, at one point teaming up with veteran Will Smith in 2-on-2 rush drills and powering forward. It was his first work against another team since rupturing his Achilles last Sept. 29 against the Falcons.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds on the Patriots’ roster, Wilfork said he and his wife, Bianca, worked together for months to shed weight. He feels it’s been a success.
“We worked our tails off. My training camp began a long time ago -- in March,” Wilfork said. “I’ve been working for a long, long time and there’s a reason I feel good and a reason I have the confidence to play. It won’t stop.”
Wilfork said he doesn’t feel as if his weight loss has comprised any of his power, saying he’s as strong as he’s ever been.
“Every year I always try to work on something and one of the things [this year] was, with an Achilles the more weight you can try to take off the better your body feels,” he said. “I tried that and it went well. That might be something in the long run where if I feel that helped me, it might be something I have to stick with. For the most part, everything is good right now. It’s just maintaining. That’s the main goal, to be able to continue to work at things, where I know I can get better, whether it’s on the field or off the field with my body. I think that’s what is going to keep me around as long as I want to be around and not getting pushed out the door. As long as I want to be around, I’ll be around.”
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