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Excited Burgess hard at work learning Pats' playbook

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One phone call brought Derrick Burgess the good news: A trade was taking him from one of the worst teams in the NFL to one of the best.

Career Statistics
Seasons: 8

Sacks: 47

Passes defensed: 7

The strong pass rusher who held out of training camp was headed from Oakland to New England, where he happily practiced with teammates Sunday for the first time this summer.

"I got a call and was told that I was supposed to be here, and the next thing I was doing was looking for my flight," Burgess said. He was "shocked, yes, and also happy."

He went from one coast to the other, from a regular loser to a perennial winner.

"The winning that goes on here, just the attitude around, it means a lot because I'm big on winning ballgames," Burgess said.

In the four years while he was with the Raiders, they were 15-49 and the Patriots were 49-15. In 2007 alone, the Patriots were 16-0 then added two playoff wins before losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17-14 on a last-minute touchdown.

Burgess knows how disappointing a loss like that can be. He was with the Philadelphia Eagles when they lost to the Patriots in the 2005 Super Bowl, 24-21.

"It was heartbreaking," Burgess said. "We lost. That was pretty much it. They wanted it more than we did at the time and it showed because they won the game."

Before the next season, he signed a five-year contract as a free agent with Oakland and had 16 sacks in his first year and 11 in his second. He made the Pro Bowl both times but the losing was tough. He also managed just 3.5 sacks in 10 games in an injury-plagued 2008 season.

"I'm here to work and help win," Burgess said. "I just want to be able to contribute, so the Pro Bowl's not on my mind right now."

He also said he's not concerned about extending his contract, which expires after this season.

Once he learns the Patriots complex defensive system, he figures to fill the vacancy at outside linebacker left when Mike Vrabel was traded to Kansas City in February. Fourth-year veteran Pierre Woods had been seen as the leading candidate for that job before the trade.

"It's a new defense, a new scheme," Burgess said. "So I've got to come in with my ears and eyes open, trying to learn everything."

Burgess arrived in Foxborough on Friday after the morning practice, the last until Sunday afternoon. He worked during the weekend with coaches trying to learn the new system and its terminology.

"It's good to have him out there. He's got a long way to go," coach Bill Belichick said. "He's got some catching up to do, too, but I'm glad we have him here."

Defensive end Ty Warren and outside linebacker Shawn Crable also practiced Sunday for the first time since camp began on July 31 after they were removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list.

"Logic tells you that I'm going to be a little behind. But, at the same time, the system is the system," said Warren, a starter the past five seasons. "I know the system. I've been in meeting rooms."

Crable, a third-round draft pick last year, has yet to play for the Patriots. He was inactive for the first eight games in 2008 then went on injured reserve with a shin injury.

"I haven't been in pads for like a year," he said. "Once you get back out there (and) you get your feet wet, it'll all work out."

Burgess also is back on the field after missing all of Oakland's mandatory minicamp with a reported stomach ailment then holding out of training camp.

"What happened in Oakland is behind me," he said. "It was tough. We play the game to win, so it had to be rough, but I'm here now so it doesn't really matter."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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