Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

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Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - When you look at the list of 2011 Patriots salaries and cap hits, one number in the top five jumps off the page. Ty Warren with an approximate3.1 million salary and a 5.878 million cap hit. (Thanks, Miguel!). That number is too steep for a player of Warren's age and injury history despite all the good work he's done for this team. And there was a lot of it between the time he was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2003 and July 28, 2011. When I contacted Warren Friday afternoon and told him I was sorry to hear the news, he replied,"Don't be sorry. It's all good, man. I'm excited, really, to be honest with you. I appreciate everything. I appreciate my journey with the Pats and the Kraft family presenting the opportunity. I appreciate all my teammates over the years who were close friends...and will continue to be. I look forward to bigger and better things. "We're putting out feelers to certain teams around the league," he added. "I'm looking forward to donning the jersey of a contending team and that's what you'll see me wearing this fall."Warren missed all of 2010after hip surgery.The 30-year-old from Texas A&M has been a highly regarded player in the community and the locker room, but there seemed to be growing friction between he and Bill Belichick in the last couple of years here. On Thursday, Warren failed the team's conditioning test, pulling up with a hamstring injury. "But there's people who failed the running test who stuck around," Warren pointed out."I think the team was looking to do some things differentlyon defense andI wasn't in the plan. It doesn't have anything to do with the test or anything else or related with Bill. You can see by the acquisitions they made. Plan on doing different things I'm not in the plans for and with my salary, they weren't going to keep me around as dead money."Asked about his relationship with Belichick, Warren said, "Bill's a unique guy. There's some things that toward the end of my careerwe didn't agree on. At the same time, you can't make him happy all the time and he can't make me happy all the time. At the end of the dayI respect him as a good coach and as someone who was very good at preparing the team. But that's about as far as it goes."Hisexit conversation with Belichick was "a grateful talk." Warren added,"I respect Bill and I respect the guys."The other salary-cap related move was clearly offensive lineman Nick Kaczur who was on the books for3.4 million in salary and over 4.3 million in salary and potential bonus money. A third-round pick in 2005, Kaczur wasa more than serviceable right tackle for much of his time but his performance lagged in 2009. A back injury during training camp last year cost him the 2010 season. Alge Crumpler may be thebiggest surprise among the releases. He was due a salary of 2.4 million this year. He joined the Patriots last spring and quickly became a mentor to young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and brought such great leadership he was named a captain last year. He was also an outstanding blocker. He seems the most likely of the released players to get re-signed to a lower contract at a later date. The Patriots also announced the previously reported releases of Marcus Stroud and Tully Banta-Cain, as well as the signings of two rookies - quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

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Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”