Pats Try to Replace Vince Wilfork

2 rookies likely to step in for injured Wilfork

AP Sports Writer=
       FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) _ Vince Wilfork helped his rookie backups as they tried to learn the New England Patriots' complex defense.

        Now, results of his teaching could be tested.

        The star defensive tackle is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon. That should mean more playing time for Joe Vellano and Chris Jones. Vellano wasn't drafted and Jones has been cut by two teams.

        Wilfork has missed just six games in his 10-year career. He was injured on the Patriots' first defensive series of their 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday night. He underwent surgery and his wife tweeted a photo of him in a recliner and giving a thumbs-up sign while his foot was in a cast.

        AP-WF-10-02-13 2026GMT