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Belichick glad to have Burgess back

08.13.10 at 5:40 pm ET

After weeks of uncertainty, speculation, and utter confusion, the Patriots have brought back defensive end/outside linebacker Derrick Burgess from a brief attempt at retirement. Given that the Pats brought back the 32-year-old on the same day they lost another big part of their defense in Ty Warren, many are likely wondering what made Burgess change his mind.

“I think that’s between Derrick and myself,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday. “It’s a personal conversation, so they changed basically when he arrived here and passed his physical and conditioning test this morning. He’ll be out on the field the next time we’re out there.”

While Warren’s injury raises a number of questions, Burgess’ return seemingly answers one. Based on training camp and just how thin the Patriots were at outside linebacker, it appeared three-year veteran Marques Murrell or second-round pick Jermaine Cunningham could be a starter at outside linebacker at the open of the season. Now that Burgess is back, there should be more of a rotation with Tully Banta-Cain retaining his own spot.

Belichick spoke rather highly of Burgess when addressing the team’s moves on Friday. The former Eagles’ third-round pick was described by Belichick as being a smart player who would benefit from a second full year in the Patriots’ 3-4 system.

“I think Derrick is a very knowledgable pass rusher,” Belichick said. “He has a good understanding of his opponents, pass-rush technique, and how to defeat blockers and how to specifically defeat individual blockers based on their strengths and weaknesses and how he matches up against them. He played primarily in a 4-3 defense in Philadelphia and Oakland the majority of his career and on our defense he played some in that position but also some as a 3-4 outside outside linebacker type. Again, that’s a little bit different compared to what he had done in the past.”

Belichick noted that from what he was able to see from Burgess in the spring, he had noticed that Burgess was beginning to look more comfortable in the 3-4.

Though he has missed all of camp thus far, his continued adjustment to the system and seeing what he may be able to contribute in his second season under Belichick will definitely be something to keep an eye on. The team finished 23rd in the league last season with with 31 sacks.

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