|Gerard Warren registered 28 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in 16 games last season. (Jonathan Wiggs/ Globe Staff)|
Happy return engagement
Veteran Warren ecstatic to be back in the fold
FOXBOROUGH - Defensive lineman Gerard Warren wasn’t ready to give up football, and he wanted to come back to New England.
At the end of last season, Bill Belichick told Warren he wanted to bring him back, if there was a spot.
Warren took a chance, and last week he finally got the call. The Patriots were bringing him back.
“A lot of times when you get that message, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ you have to think long and hard,’’ said Warren. “But 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 a call.’’
Not only did Warren want to come back, he wanted to play beside Vince Wilfork again.
“Last year was a great experience,’’ said Warren, 33, who played in 16 games in 2010 and registered 28 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks. “It didn’t finish the way we wanted it to, but I know the purpose and the direction that this team wants to go, and I want to be a part of it again.’’
With so many defensive linemen on the roster, Warren said, “only the strong will survive.’’
When asked if any other teams approached him, the 11th-year veteran said he told his agent, “Call me after you talk to New England.’’
“I felt like I had a few more years left in me, and I wanted to be here in New England, and fortunately, through God’s blessings, it worked out that way,’’ he said.
Taking a pass Albert Haynesworth missed his fourth consecutive practice yesterday, and Belichick said the defensive lineman was day to day, along with Shaun Ellis, who is on the physically unable to perform list.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, and offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Chris Morris also did not participate in yesterday’s practice in shorts and shells. Linebacker Brandon Spikes was among those watching practice but didn’t participate.
Belichick said players who did not practice yesterday most likely will not play in tomorrow’s preseason opener, but he left the door open for some.
In the meantime, Belichick said, players have to make the most of their reps.
“I think the way the players have to look at it is they should do everything that they’re able to do and maximize that,’’ he said.
Fresh start Defensive end Andre Carter had nothing but positive things to say about his relationship with Haynesworth when the two were teammates with Washington.
“Our relationship has always been positive no matter what,’’ said Carter.
Last year, though, Haynesworth didn’t approve of the Redskins’ plan to switch to a 3-4 defense and demanded a trade. Carter called out Haynesworth, saying, “I haven’t experienced a player prioritizing his position on the field over working with the game.’’
Yesterday, Carter said that is all in the past.
“I saw him on the first day,’’ Carter said. “This is a new season for us, and we’re just excited to get things going.’’
Carter said there is no need to question Haynesworth’s motivation, and that he remains a valuable player for any team.
“He’s a heck of a player,’’ said Carter. “Just the times I played with him and the little success as far as sacks that I received, we had a great four-man rush, whether it was him inside or him outside.
“He’s a big guy, he can plug the middle, so with him and our other big guys in the middle, Lord willing we’ll get things right. Anything’s possible, but you’ve got to put it on the practice field first.’’
Jaguars call on Gabbert Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard, who tweaked his back in practice Thursday, will not play in tomorrow’s exhibition opener, allowing rookie Blaine Gabbert to start.
Coach Jack Del Rio is being cautious with Garrard, and the Jaguars signed 39-year-old Todd Bouman, who had three stints with the Jaguars last season.
Gabbert, the 10th pick in April’s draft out of Missouri, has worked with the first-team offense since Garrard’s injury. Del Rio says Gabbert and Luke McCown will split most of the snaps against the Patriots.
Help for the line According to a league source, the Patriots claimed offensive lineman Mark Wetterer off waivers from Cincinnati. The rookie is 6 feet 4 inches, 305 pounds, and played at the University of Louisville. He is listed primarily as a guard. The Patriots may be looking for depth on an offensive line that has been banged up since training camp began. Ryan Wendell has not practiced since July 31 because of an undisclosed injury . . . The Patriots will dedicate the 2011 season to Myra Kraft, who died July 20 after a battle with cancer. All players and coaches will wear a patch in her honor . . . It appears the reason long snapper Matt Katula missed the first few days of training camp was that he restructured his deal. He signed a one-year contract at the veteran minimum of $685,000, according to the NFL Players Association website . . . Linebacker Channing Crowder said the Patriots had him in for a tryout, but he announced his retirement after six NFL seasons. Crowder, 27, was cut by the Dolphins less than two weeks ago.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Monique Walker can be reached at email@example.com.