Generously listed as carrying 325 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, Wilfork's has played in over 85 percent of his team's defensive snaps this season, a sharp increase over his playing-time percentages of 58 to 66 percent over the 2008-10 seasons.
"I never look at it,’’ Wilfork said. "I know I’ve played a lot this year, but I think everybody - even guys that have played 20 plays or 100 plays less than me -probably feel the same way as me. It’s just a long season.’’
Wilfork has 52 tackles, set a career-high with 3.5 quarterback sacks and recorded the first two interceptions of his NFL career. The 30-year-old has also inspired his younger teammates.
"He’s just amazing,’’ Patriots defensive lineman Kyle Love said. "I look at him and it’s the fourth quarter, he’s been out there the whole game and I can see the look in his eyes, but he’s still pushing, fighting.
"It inspires me to play hard because I was always a guy like, ‘I’m tired, I’m tired. I need a break, a rest.’ I see him, he’s not looking for somebody to come get him. He’s just trying to play harder and harder every snap, so it just makes me want to play harder and harder every snap.’’