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The New England Patriots held a retirement press conference on Wednesday for veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork where owner Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick shared many stories about Wilfork.
Among them was a story about Kraft inviting Wilfork and his wife on a vacation to Italy during the offseason.
Kraft said that while in Italy, they went to a leather worker’s small shop to get custom leather jackets.
According to Kraft, the man doing the sizing was a bit taken aback by the 6-foot-2, 325-pound Wilfork. Via Boston.com:
“For any of you who know Italy, the finest artists and leatherwork is done there. We went to a little fine leather store. Most Italian men are thin, in Italy at least, thin and well-sculpted. There were leather jackets, sort of a fixed price and Vince was getting fitted for this leather jacket and I don’t think the gentleman who was the artist had ever seen anyone that size. I don’t know, did he ever make it? Yeah, I don’t think he could afford it, it was really high-grade leather and it was a fixed price.”
Kraft also said that one Italian dinner in particular was to blame for Wilfork returning to training camp overweight.
“We went to one of the nicest restaurants in Florence. I remember Vince saying that he had camp coming up and he wanted to eat healthy and just eat protein,” Kraft said. “This place was famous for pasta. They brought many pastas and meat and desserts and Vince was a full participant in every course, not wanting to make them feel bad.
“I checked when he came back here, he was able to pass his run, but I think he might have been a few pounds overweight and had to pay a fine, which, Bill, I really should’ve paid because I brought him there.”
Of course, Wilfork was more than just a big defensive tackle to the Patriots. Belichick called him the “captain of the captains,” saying Wilfork was always willing to speak up when others didn’t. Kraft also praised Wilfork when Wilfork stood by him when his wife passed away.
At the press conference, Wilfork said he has no retirement plans and wants to enjoy being on his own schedule. Perhaps with the extra time he can find a leather worker who can fit a jacket to his frame.