Tearing an Achilles tendon is a tough injury to come back from for any athlete. It poses an even greater challenge for a massive defensive lineman who has advanced past the age of 30.

Speaking for the first time since suffering the season-ending injury to his right foot in Week 4 against Atlanta, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said last night he was progressing in his recovery and for those who think he won’t make it back, think again.

“I’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind. That’s not even a question,” Wilfork said. “People can worry about it. But not me. I’ll be back.”

Wilfork, who was at Bass Pro Shops as part of a holiday shopping event for children in need that was hosted by his foundation, along with the Patriots Charitable Foundation and Alumni Club, said he was doing well, and expected to be out of his walking boot in a week.

Naturally, he’s hated every minute being on the sideline, and having to watch the games.

“It’s always frustrating. The only thing I do, the only thing I know how to do is play football. And I can’t do it right now,” he said. “But things happen for a reason. The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll get healthy soon.”

Wilfork is still taking part, watching film and helping his teammates whenever he can.

“Whatever they see fit for what I can do, that’s what I try to do to help. If it’s me coming around to see the guys, or having the guys talk with me, or if it’s watching film with the guys, that’s what I’ll do,” he said. “I’m still part of (the team). Sometimes I feel like I’m not because I’m not out there with them, but I’ll stay a part of them. I want these guys to feel the same about me.”

Wilfork called the Patriots a bunch of “fighters” given the way they’ve showed resilience in wake of all the injuries.