Vince Wilfork speaks to Patriots after practice

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Former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork earned an invite from Bill Belichick to speak to the team following Thursday’s practice.

Wilfork, who retired after the 2016 season and signed a one-day contract with New England to retire a Patriot, encouraged the team to stay focused amid the distractions of Super Bowl week.

“He’s a great leader for us, team captain 11 years,” Belichick said, via the practice pool report. “A lot of friends here on the team, some new faces. But a guy that was very well respected and had tremendous leadership on the team. It was good to see him.”

James Harrison, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung chatted with Wilfork on the sideline during the team’s lengthy special teams period.