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Vince Wilfork tears Achilles, will miss Patriots' season

The New England Patriots' 30-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night appears to have come at a heavy price -- 325 pounds, to be exact.

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Nose tackle Vince Wilfork left the game in the first quarter and didn't return. He was carted off the field and later seen with his right foot in awalking boot.

NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Monday that Wilfork tore his Achilles and will miss the remainder of the season, according to a source.

The Boston Globe first reported the injury. 

A first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Wilfork has played his entire 10-year career with the Patriots, winning one Super Bowl and playing in two others. He is considered one of the league's premiere run stoppers. If he is done for the season, it would be a serious blow to New England's postseason hopes.

Undrafted rookie Joe Vellano recorded one sack Sunday and played well in Wilfork's place, but the Patriots are dangerously thin at the defensive tackle position. Vellano, waiver pick-up Chris Jones, and 10-year veteran Tommy Kelly (in his first year in New England) are the only tackles currently on the roster.

Aside from Tom Brady, Wilfork has been the Patriots' most valuable player. At times he shut down the opponents' inside run game by himself. The Patriots now need to add depth to the position. We wouldn't be surprised to see Bill Belichick move around pieces, such as Rob Ninkovich, within his front seven to cover the loss of Wilfork, the team's defensive captain.

The Patriots can't seem to shake the injury bug to key players. It hasn't cost them a game thus far, but losing their best defender will test Belichick's genius once again.

UPDATE: During an appearance with WEEI-FM in Boston, Belichick commented on Wilfork's injury, saying, "it's probably unlikely that he'll be able to play again this year."

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Week 4 games. Click here to listen and subscribe.

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