Vince Wilfork knows what it takes

FOXBORO - It's been a decade now for Vince Wilfork, so it's a fair bet that he's seen just about anything a player can see in the NFL.

That includes a parade of players that have come to his New England Patriots looking to earn a ring. Some have stayed, others have left. They come and go, he said - but there's one thread that has to run through all of them.

"If you're not willing to put the work in to be successful, you're not going to make it here," Wilfork said Wednesday after what turned out to be the last practice of the Patriots' mandatory full-squad minicamp. "The guys that do make it here, they're willing to humble themselves and put the team first, and concentrate on winning. We will always put team first and winning first before anything."

The question was posed to Wilfork under the premise of the arrival of quarterback Tim Tebow at Gillette Stadium. The former Bronco and Jet signed a two-year contract and joined the Patriots on Tuesday.

"Just another teammate to help us win," said the veteran defensive tackle. "I'm glad to have him as a teammate and I'm pretty sure that he'll do some things that will help us win. That's up to the coaches to put him where he needs to be, but any decisions the coaches make to bring guys in or to release guys is for the better of this team."

There has never been any question about Tebow's humility at any of his stops, including the University of Florida. What's been a question throughout his career is whether he can play his position well enough to succeed as a pro - and if not, whether a strapping young lad with Tebow's athletic ability and drive can somehow be adapted to fit other, unique roles.

It didn't work with the Jets, and Wilfork admitted he didn't yet know what Bill Belichick has up his sleeve in his attempt to find value in Tebow.

"They feel he can help us in some kind of way that we don't know," Wilfork said, "but I'm happy to have him as a teammate."

Wilfork said he was happy about one thing - that he would not have to chase the mercurial Tebow around the field as an opponent any more. But in his new identity as a Patriot, Tebow is more than welcome to be on board as long as he knows what he has to do in order to stick.

"We're all about football and winning," Wilfork said. "If you're not about that, then this is not a place for you. We're going to treat him just like we always treat anybody. We always treat everybody fair, no matter who you are."

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