FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has cut a string of high-profile players over the last week, but he sent his most productive one to the unemployment line Wednesday.
Defensive lineman Gerard Warren was a very capable starter in 2010, and his solidarity at the position was valuable in the face of numerous injuries. He performed well again this preseason, but he was released with cornerback Darius Butler to make room for tight end Dan Gronkowski and linebacker A.J. Edds.
Warren's release actually made some sense, though, particularly after Belichick said it was possible that Warren could re-sign with the Patriots down the road. Earlier in training camp, Warren basically said he didn't want to play for anyone other than New England, so it was easy to see where his loyalties lie.
The Patriots are loaded with talent on the defensive line. They've got a good veteran presence with Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Andre Carter, Mike Wright and Mark Anderson. And they've also got some promising youth with Jermaine Cunningham (a linebacker/defensive end hybrid), Myron Pryor and Kyle Love.
If the Patriots released Pryor or Love, they'd almost certainly lose them through waivers. However, Warren's status as a 10-year veteran makes him exempt from the waiver wire, meaning he can hang out and wait until the Patriots need him again.
It could be next week, next month or just prior to the preseason. Regardless, there's a good chance that the Patriots haven't seen the last of Warren.
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