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Belichick welcomes Burgess back

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to provide details on why AWOL outside linebacker Derrick Burgess finally decided to report for training camp Friday or how they smoothed things over.

Belichick did share his take on what Burgess means for the Patriots defense, which could use a bit of good news after defensive end Ty Warren was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

The Patriots tied for 23rd in sacks last year. Burgess, a two-time Pro Bowler, recorded five sacks.

"Derrick is a very knowledgeable pass-rusher," Belichick said. "I think 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 has played primarily in a 4-3 defense in Philadelphia and Oakland the majority of his career. In our defense he played some in that position but also some as a 3-4 outside linebacker type and, again, that’s a little bit different compared to what he had done in the past.

"I think this year based on the spring and the workouts we had in May and June, I think he’s certainly a lot further ahead in understanding what we do and our terminology and techniques and so forth than he was at this time last year. Derrick is really a pretty versatile player. He can do some different things and can do them pretty well. We’ll build on what we did in the spring and see where it goes."