Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said Thursday he will not be back with New England next season, ending an 11-year stay in which he won two Super Bowls and established himself as the cornerstone of the Patriots' defense.
In a statement on Twitter, Wilfork said the team told him it would not be picking up his option for 2015, making him eligible for free agency.
"I'm in a good place," Wilfork said. "I will take my time think things through take into consideration many things but mainly my family and see where life goes from there. ... But regardless remember I will always remain a New Englander a Patriot forever."
A 6-foot-2, 325-pound gap-stuffer who was drafted in the first round out of Miami in 2004, Wilfork helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl as a rookie and returned to the NFL title game twice more in losing efforts before helping the franchise win its fourth title last month.
But he was due to receive a $4 million roster bonus by Monday and would have gotten $14 million over the next two seasons if it had been picked up. The money saved will help the Patriots bring back cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement at age 29.
As an Oakland Raider last season, Jones-Drew was unable to get back to the level he had reached in Jacksonville when he ranked second in the NFL with 4,321 yards rushing in a three-year span from 2009-11.
He completed his career with 8,167 rushing yards. He led the NFL with 1,606 yards in 2011.
"The past nine years were absolutely amazing!" Jones-Drew said in a statement released on his Twitter account. "I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me throughout my NFL journey."
Manning good to go
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning made his return for an 18th NFL season official by passing his physical a day after agreeing to a revised contract that calls for him to take a $4 million pay cut. Manning left the team's headquarters without speaking to the media.
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell was one of the passengers on a Delta airplane that skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday.
Delta, in a statement, said all customers had safely deplaned the aircraft, a twin-engined MD-88, and had been taken by bus to an airport terminal.