Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says the team had plans all along to re-up defensive lineman Gerard Warren.
FOXBORO â Gerard Warren had an explicit instruction for his agent this offseason.
âI told him, âCall me after you talk to New England,ââ Warren said. âI donât want to burn any bridges, but thatâs 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.â
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.
âItâs something we planned on for a while,â Belichick said of retaining the 33-year-old Warren, who is entering his 11th NFL season. âHe did a lot of good things for us last year, a veteran player that I thought handled himself very well on the team.â
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.
âA lot of times when you get the message, âDonât call us, weâll call you,â you have to think long and hard,â Warren said. âBut 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.
âI 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.â
An upset loss to the Jets in the divisional playoffs soured Warrenâs first campaign with the Patriots, one in which the team amassed an NFL-best 14-2 regular-season record.
âWe didnât succeed on our mission last year,â Warren said. âIt was unfinished business and itâs something we want to finish off this year. You know how we measure up if it was a good or a bad season.â
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 Warrenâs decision to re-up with New England.
Said Warren, âThat 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.â
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.
âYou 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,â he said. âItâs chemistry. Youâll 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.â
Asked to size up the competition, Warren replied, âOnly the strong will survive.â
âEverybodyâs out here to get better, day in and day out,â he said. âThe one thing I like about it is itâs always competition. Not too many positions are solidified. You just got to come work, and may the best man win.â
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.
âJust overall, heâs a heck of a player,â Carter said. âThe times Iâve played with him, we had a great four-man rush, whether it was him inside or him outside. Heâs a big guy that you can put in the middle. So his level of versatility, heâs a big guy, he can plug the middle, so with him and our other big guys in the middle, Lord willing weâll get things right.
âAnythingâs possible, but youâve got to put it on the practice field first.â
After signing with the Patriots on Monday, Carter is eager to reunite with Haynesworth in New England.
âOur relationship has always been positive, whether it was here or there,â Carter said. â[Washington] is a thing of the past. This is now. Weâre Patriots now.â
And now that theyâre Patriots, Carter hopes his teammate will be more of a disruption on the field than he is off of it.
âOne thing about Albert, as a player in general, I think weâre all motivated to a certain extent,â Carter said. âHow far you want to push yourself is up to the individual, and thatâs just putting in the work. The Albert I know is definitely a motivated person.â
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 hadnât yet taken the team conditioning test. He can begin practicing at any time during training camp.
Belichick on Tuesday termed Ellisâ status as âday-to-day,â along with that of Haynesworth, who will almost certainly sit out Thursdayâs preseason opener against the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium.
âHeâs getting some treatment and I think he will be back out there as soon as he can,â Belichick said of Haynesworth, who has a history of knee issues. âI think heâs working really hard and hopefully heâll be back at it in, hopefully, a day or a matter of days.â
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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. âŠ Players absent from Tuesdayâs practice included offensive lineman Dan Connolly, tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety James Sanders, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell and defensive lineman Mike Wright. Gronkowski left Mondayâs practice with an undisclosed injury. âŠ Tuesday marked New Englandâs 14th practice of camp. âŠ 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 Thursdayâs preseason game against the Jaguars, all players will wear a patch on their left chest bearing Kraftâs initials, âMHK.â âŠ New England on Tuesday claimed offensive lineman Mark Wetterer off waivers from the Bengals and waived safety Ross Ventrone.