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From cleats to smoked meats: Vince Wilfork announces retirement in a charcoal ad

Vince Wilfork is hanging up his cleats. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Veteran NFL defensive lineman Vince Wilfork strongly suggested he would retire during the offseason after his Houston Texans lost to his former team, the New England Patriots, in the divisional round of the playoffs in January.

“I think I have played my last NFL football game,” the 35-year-old Wilfork said following the Patriots’ 34-16 triumph. “I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back and see if I really want to retire. We’ll see. I don’t know how long that will take.”

It took until Monday, when the barbecue- and fun-loving Wilfork officially tweeted his decision to retire in a video that doubles as an advertisement for Kingsford Charcoal.

“No more cleats, I’m moving on to smoked meats, fellas,” Wilfork says in the video, which also features the 325-pounder smoking a cigar, dancing in denim overalls and wearing a hat that reads, simply, RIBS. “Peace out! I’m out of here. Later!”

If sponsored retirement videos are the future, Wilfork, who played 13 seasons in the NFL, has set a high bar for hilarity. Before he traded the pigskin for pig roasts, Wilfork won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, the team with which he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career after being selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft out of Miami (Fla.). The five-time Pro Bowl selection signed a two-year deal with the Texans before the 2015 season and started 31 games over the last two years. In May, Wilfork reiterated that he would take his time to make “the right decision” about whether to retire. Ultimately, the call of the grill was too difficult to ignore.

Wilfork’s wife, Bianca, shared a message of support for her husband’s decision in an Instagram post.

“I’ve never been so proud of one human being in my life,” she wrote, in part. “[Y]ou are our hero our superman … our everything … every play every snap every training camp every missed school event for the kids every scratch bruise cut … every ounce of blood sweat tears and sacrifice … we’ve seen you take your body you mind and your spirit and give it everything you have on the football field … you didn’t just play football you loved football it wasn’t a job it was a life a blessed life. I know first hand how hard you’ve worked how much you’ve sacrificed how much you have given to this sport and to this life. As your wife as your best friend as your children as your family we are so proud of everything you have accomplished during your career I’ve seen you go from national championships to super bowls winning and loosing both but always giving your all. You planted your fingers in the dirt …you put in the work ….you ALWAYS did your [expletive] job …and we thank you for that …we love you for that …you are our hero it doesn’t take you in a uniform to know that.”

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