Vince Wilfork cleans out locker; Robert Kraft says he wants him to stay

Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork, whose contract situation with the team has become a major storyline this offseason, has not only asked for his release but has also cleaned out his locker at Gillette Stadium, according to a Boston Herald report.From the Herald:

According to two sources, an angry Wilfork ripped his name plate off his locker stall, and cleaned out his locker. That's how Big Vince felt about the proceedings. Naturally, time and distance can change perspective, but Wilfork seemed convinced he was done in New England.

On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke out in support of keeping Wilfork. Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Kraft called Wilfork “one of my personal favorites” and said he hopes the two sides can come to a compromise. The Patriots are trying to decrease Wilfork's $7.5 million base salary and $11.6 million salary cap number for this season, which is the final year of his contract with the team. From the Globe’s Ben Volin:

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"In pro sports, it's a business as well as commitment to one another, and we have to work through it, and I'm still not giving up hope that he'd be part of our team next year," Kraft told a group of reporters. "Either we get it done or we don't. I very much hope we get it done, and I believe he very much would like to do it as well, and we've been so lucky to have him, so we'll see what happens."

Kraft also told reporters, “Going back over the last 20 years, we’ve had some pretty special people come through, and he is one of my personal favorites. I’m thinking of Tedy Bruschi and Matt Light and Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown. They made their careers with us, and I surely hope Vince will be with us next year.”

The 32-year-old Wilfork has been selected to five Pro Bowls since being drafted by the Patriots in 2004.