During the summer after Vince Wilfork‘s freshman year at Miami, his father died of kidney failure. Six months later, his mother died of a stroke. Wilfork persevered through a college football career that made him a first-round draft pick, and a pro football career that ended with his retirement this week after 13 season, five Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl rings.
In announcing his retirement, Wilfork said his one regret about that great career is that his parents didn’t get to experience any of it.
“They didn’t get a chance to see their son live out a dream,” he said. “Physically, that hurt every day — by the hour, daily. Not a minute goes by. But I know they had the best seat in the house. Thank you, David and Barbara Wilfork.”
Wilfork credited his wife, children, family and friends for being with him every step of the way.
“To my family and friends, thank you for the sacrifice over all these years. I know it was rough sometimes with the career I had, but I think at the end of the day, it was worth it,” Wilfork said.
His parents were with him, too, if only in spirit.