Sitting at his locker inside NRG Stadium after practice Friday, Vince Wilfork cracked a smile when asked about Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers.
“This is my favorite quarterback to play against,” he said. “I love Phillip Rivers.”
Rivers and Wilfork were first round picks in 2004, with both appearing in five Pro Bowls. They’ve faced off many times over the years, but one game in particular stands out with the Texans’ nose tackle.
“He earned my respect playing him in the AFC Championship with a torn ACL,” Wilfork recalled. “Anybody else they would’ve sat that game out, so he’s tough, he’s rugged, he’s one hell of a leader, and he’s been doing it for awhile now.”
When you get them in a game situation, most quarterbacks are quiet and stoic, but not Rivers, and for Wilfork, that’s what makes it so much fun to play against him.
“He’s fiery, he talks smack, a little smack, but it’s good fun,” he said. “There’s nothing disrespectful or anything like that. It’s all in good competition.”
Rivers isn’t just fun to play against, and while Wilfork has never played with him, he can tell just how much his teammates like him.
“You can just see the way they play. You see how he gets that team rolling. Even when they score, I mean how the offensive line is, receivers come, hug him and give him high fives and how he runs up to those guys.”
On Sunday, Wilfork and the Texans will try to limit those hugs and high fives as much as they can.