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FOXBORO ‚ÄĒ Gerard Warren had an explicit instruction for his agent this offseason.
‚ÄúI told him, ‚ÄėCall me after you talk to New England,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Warren said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to burn any bridges, but that‚Äôs pretty much what it boiled down to. I told him I wanted to come back to New England because I knew what the purpose was here.‚ÄĚ
Patriots coach Bill Belichick announced on Monday that the team had re-signed Warren, a veteran defensive lineman who started 10 regular-season games for New England last season, registering 3.5 sacks.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs something we planned on for a while,‚ÄĚ Belichick said of retaining the 33-year-old Warren, who is entering his 11th NFL season. ‚ÄúHe did a lot of good things for us last year, a veteran player that I thought handled himself very well on the team.‚ÄĚ
Warren said Belichick informed him in advance that the Patriots would be interested in re-signing him. But until that phone call finally came, Warren was somewhat apprehensive.
‚ÄúA lot of times when you get the message, ‚ÄėDon‚Äôt call us, we‚Äôll call you,‚Äô you have to think long and hard,‚ÄĚ Warren said. ‚ÄúBut he told me if it was possible for me to be back that he would give me a call, and he honored his word and gave me the call.
‚ÄúI was glad to come back. Last year was a great experience. I know the direction this team wants to go, and I want to be a part of it again.‚ÄĚ
An upset loss to the Jets in the divisional playoffs soured Warren‚Äôs first campaign with the Patriots, one in which the team amassed an NFL-best 14-2 regular-season record.
‚ÄúWe didn‚Äôt succeed on our mission last year,‚ÄĚ Warren said. ‚ÄúIt was unfinished business and it‚Äôs something we want to finish off this year. You know how we measure up if it was a good or a bad season.‚ÄĚ
That would be a Super Bowl championship. Warren is still in search of his first ring, unlike fellow defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who played a key role in Warren‚Äôs decision to re-up with New England.
Said Warren, ‚ÄúThat was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back, was because of Vince and the relationship that we bonded and built together last year.‚ÄĚ
Warren and Wilfork are two of 21 defensive linemen that the Patriots have in training camp, a significant number. In addition to Warren, Andre Carter, Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth have been added to the mix.
The key, Warren said, will be how the group meshes as a unit.
‚ÄúYou just have to take the best of each one of us and mold and gel it all together, and then put it on the field and see how it works out,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs chemistry. You‚Äôll be able to feed off what they do well and they feed off of what you do well, and be able to mix it together and make a masterpiece.‚ÄĚ
Asked to size up the competition, Warren replied, ‚ÄúOnly the strong will survive.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúEverybody‚Äôs out here to get better, day in and day out,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe one thing I like about it is it‚Äôs always competition. Not too many positions are solidified. You just got to come work, and may the best man win.‚ÄĚ
Carter backs Haynesworth
When it comes to the hot-button topic of Haynesworth, Carter has a unique perspective.
The defensive linemen spent the past two seasons together with the Redskins, allowing Carter a first-hand glimpse of the controversy magnet that is Haynesworth, who missed o Tuesday his fourth consecutive practice at Gillette Stadium.
‚ÄúJust overall, he‚Äôs a heck of a player,‚ÄĚ Carter said. ‚ÄúThe times I‚Äôve played with him, we had a great four-man rush, whether it was him inside or him outside. He‚Äôs a big guy that you can put in the middle. So his level of versatility, he‚Äôs a big guy, he can plug the middle, so with him and our other big guys in the middle, Lord willing we‚Äôll get things right.
‚ÄúAnything‚Äôs possible, but you‚Äôve got to put it on the practice field first.‚ÄĚ
After signing with the Patriots on Monday, Carter is eager to reunite with Haynesworth in New England.
‚ÄúOur relationship has always been positive, whether it was here or there,‚ÄĚ Carter said. ‚Äú[Washington] is a thing of the past. This is now. We‚Äôre Patriots now.‚ÄĚ
And now that they‚Äôre Patriots, Carter hopes his teammate will be more of a disruption on the field than he is off of it.
‚ÄúOne thing about Albert, as a player in general, I think we‚Äôre all motivated to a certain extent,‚ÄĚ Carter said. ‚ÄúHow far you want to push yourself is up to the individual, and that‚Äôs just putting in the work. The Albert I know is definitely a motivated person.‚ÄĚ
Ellis to PUP list
The Patriots have placed Ellis on the active/physically unable to perform list as works his way back from a hip injury.
Ellis, who signed with the Patriots on Monday following 11 seasons with the Jets, told reporters that he hadn‚Äôt yet taken the team conditioning test. He can begin practicing at any time during training camp.
Belichick on Tuesday termed Ellis‚Äô status as ‚Äúday-to-day,‚ÄĚ along with that of Haynesworth, who will almost certainly sit out Thursday‚Äôs preseason opener against the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs getting some treatment and I think he will be back out there as soon as he can,‚ÄĚ Belichick said of Haynesworth, who has a history of knee issues. ‚ÄúI think he‚Äôs working really hard and hopefully he‚Äôll be back at it in, hopefully, a day or a matter of days.‚ÄĚ
News and notes
The Patriots on Wednesday will have a walk-through practice inside Gillette Stadium from 10-11:15 a.m. It is open to the public. Patriots Experience, the interactive theme park, will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. before closing for camp. ‚Ä¶ Players absent from Tuesday‚Äôs practice included offensive lineman Dan Connolly, tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety James Sanders, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell and defensive lineman Mike Wright. Gronkowski left Monday‚Äôs practice with an undisclosed injury. ‚Ä¶ Tuesday marked New England‚Äôs 14th practice of camp. ‚Ä¶ The Pats announced on Tuesday that they will dedicate their 2011 season to the memory of Myra Kraft, who passed away on July 20 after a battle with cancer. Starting with Thursday‚Äôs preseason game against the Jaguars, all players will wear a patch on their left chest bearing Kraft‚Äôs initials, ‚ÄúMHK.‚ÄĚ ‚Ä¶ New England on Tuesday claimed offensive lineman Mark Wetterer off waivers from the Bengals and waived safety Ross Ventrone.