Vince Wilfork Is a National Treasure

The giant lineman is the rare relatable athlete who’s also a real-life hero.

Every so often, a special athlete comes along to remind us that, despite appearances, they’re not all self-important jerks or repugnant dirt bags. These rare unicorns are often overshadowed by more boisterous teammates, but one easy way for the likable, relatable athlete to stand out is to weigh 325 pounds. It works for Vince WIlfork, the longtime Patriot’s nose tackle who joined the Texans this year and brought with him the playful spirit that makes him a national treasure.

Wilfork’s latest foray into frivolity comes in this Instagram photo promoting the next episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks. He’s wearing overalls and, it appears, nothing else. Maybe underwear, but how can we know for sure?

A photo posted by Houston Texans (@houstontexans) on Sep 1, 2015 at 8:02am PDT

That’s just Vince being Vince—self deprecating and outlandish. And a little dorky. All of those words describe this absurdly dumb but also pretty great shirt he wore to a press conference earlier this summer.

“World’s greatest farter… I mean father,” might be the worst dad joke of all time, which makes it best dad joke of all time. That’s how dad jokes work.

Here’s another great moment in Wilfork that revolves around clothes. It’s a video of him running into a fan wearing his jersey. The fan didn’t know he was standing next to the man whose jersey he was wearing. Embarrassing for the fan, but played totally cool by Wilfork, who shook his hand and laughed about it.

That’s a good Wilfork video, but this is the best Wilfork video. It’s him in a moment of pure bliss, barbecuing and dancing the day away and then getting laughed at by his wife.

Fat man can dance. Fat man can ball too, as evidenced in this video from Hard Knocks in which Wilfork plays basketball with surprising skill for a man who weighs a sixth of a ton.

OK, so all that proves that Wilfork is a fun, silly, engaging guy. Now the proof that he’s a legitimately good dude. First, there’s his charity, which supports diabetes research, a noble pursuit that was inspired after growing up watching his father suffer with the disease. Beyond that though, there’s the time he  pulled a woman from an overturned SUV after the Patriots won the AFC Championship. He downplayed it, saying anyone would have done it. Just the kind of thing you’d expect Wilfork to say. 

Photos by Al Bello/Getty Images