Wilfork: Pats haven't called about deal

Updated: January 29, 2010, 10:45 AM ET
ESPNBoston.com

Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said he would consider it a "slap in the face" if the New England Patriots place the franchise tag on him, which is expected if a long-term extension is not reached.

Wilfork [The franchise tag] is decent money for most people out there. What I do, it's OK. But I don't look at myself as an OK player. ... It's just basically a slap in my face and an insult to me to basically tell me I'm an OK player."

-- Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork

"I want a long-term deal or I want to be free. Point blank," Wilfork said during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI.

Wilfork, who has been vocal since before the season about his desire for an extension, just finished the final season of a six-year rookie contract. He is in line for a raise and long-term deal if he hits the open market. The Patriots could prevent him from being a free agent if they place the franchise tag on him, which they could do during a two-week stretch in February.

"I didn't like that six-year deal but I did honor my six-year deal," Wilfork said on WEEI on Wednesday. "Now that the deal is up, it's time for me to move forward, with the Patriots or without the Patriots."

The 28-year-old Wilfork, a two-time Pro Bowl player, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he would be amenable to continuing his career in his native Florida -- with either the Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wilfork played collegiately at Miami.

"I love great weather. I love football. It doesn't matter where I play," Wilfork told the Sun-Sentinel in Thursday's editions. "I just want to have security for my family. I would love to stay in New England if I had the chance. I love New England because of my teammates, my family. My son, the friends and connections we've made up there, it's some great people up there. But if it doesn't work out I'll weigh my options, I tell you that."

To further his point, Wilfork said he would view getting the Patriots' franchise tag as an insult.

"[The franchise tag] is decent money for most people out there. What I do, it's OK," Wilfork told WEEI. "But I don't look at myself as an OK player. Like I said, it's just basically a slap in my face and an insult to me to basically tell me I'm an OK player."

For Wilfork, the franchise tag -- which is a one-year deal -- also means a missed opportunity to gain long-term financial security.

"There's a short window of opportunity for me to make the type of money that I want to make," Wilfork told WEEI. "I'm not selling my family short and I'm definitely not selling myself short just to stay back and to win and be part of a great organization.

"Winning is a big part of sports, but a lot of teams win. ... We'll see. I will do what's best for my family. But I definitely will not sell myself short of my ability. Not at all."

Wilfork said he and his agent have not heard from the Patriots since the end of the season and the sides have not talked about an extension since the beginning of the season.

"I'm not sitting by the phone waiting for them to call," Wilfork told WEEI. "Either they call or they don't. They have all the numbers they need. ... Whenever they call, they call."

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