Wilfork says time with Patriots is over

(SportsNetwork.com) - Vince Wilfork is set to become a free agent next week after the Pro Bowl defensive lineman said the Patriots won't pick up his contract option.

Wilfork released a statement Thursday via Twitter, saying the Patriots told him Tuesday of their decision.

"I want to take this time to just let everyone know that I was informed on Tuesday that the Patriots will not be picking up my option," Wilfork wrote. "I'm in a good place (and) I have a great relationship with the Patriots organization. Please know how blessed my family and I have been to play 11 years in New England for (an) amazing organization. ... New England has been and always will be my home. I have played 11 years for the best head coach ever!"

Wilfork said he has no plans to retire.

"Can I still play football? Hell yea! Do I still love football? Hell yea!" he wrote.

According to the Patriots' website, Wilfork was due a $4 million roster bonus next week. The Patriots will also save about $8 million in salary cap space.

Wilfork has started all but 10 of the 158 games he has played for the Patriots since joining the team as a first-round pick in the 2004 draft. He missed the final 12 games of the 2013 season because of an Achilles injury, but returned in 2014 and started all 16 games.

The 33-year-old Miami-Florida product had 47 tackles with an interception last year. One of the premier run stuffers in the NFL, Wilfork is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time Super Bowl champion.