- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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A possible NFL lockout in 2011, which has him thinking more about life after his playing career, also is on his mind.
That's why as the Patriots opened their voluntary offseason program Monday, the 29-year-old Warren was home in Bryan, Texas, with his wife, Kesha, and their three kids, Brionna, Brielle and Bailey.
"I try to put the kids in the best educational system possible and I think there is something to be said for their father, who has been blessed to play in the NFL and do something he's loved to do, going back and finishing what he started," Warren said from the campus of Texas A&M. "In the big picture, I think it's important for me to do what I'm doing. I can sacrifice that bonus for that."
This marks the first time in Warren's eight seasons with New England that he will not attend any significant parts of the offseason program. He's had other offseasons in which he's trained in Florida with noted strength coach Tom Shaw before returning to Foxborough, but this year he doesn't plan to be back except for mandatory sessions prior to training camp.
When Warren was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft, he said he always had it in the back of his mind to return to A&M for his degree. If he wasn't on back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams in his first two seasons, he believes he would have earned his degree sooner.
As it stands, Warren is on pace to walk in graduation next spring. He's majoring in agriculture leadership and development and already has his post-playing career in mind; he hopes to help those at A&M get more involved in the local community.
"If we end up having a lockout in 2011, that's where you can find me, working with students," Warren said.
And even if there isn't a lockout, Warren is thinking beyond next year.
"If I'm fortunate enough to play 12, 13 years, but then find myself getting cut in training camp, I'm not going to put myself in a situation where I don't have my degree," he said. "I'm not going to give myself up like that. I need to have options, so I feel like right now is a time where I need to dictate what I'm doing in the offseason.
"I could have done something up there, but I think so much of players' time is consumed on a year-round basis that at some point when a player establishes himself and gains trust of the organization and coaches, if they have a plan after the game, it's in the players' best interest to finish what they started."
Warren, who plans to take five classes this offseason, said he is working out each morning before dropping his kids off at school and then heading to school himself. He has arranged his schedule so he can be part of his kids' school lunches once a week as well.
"Working out has never been a problem of mine, I do it regardless. I'm self-motivated," he said. "I've always been a working person. Ask anyone who knows me, I've been working and supporting my two siblings and now my own family since I was 13. No matter how much I have in the bank account, I'll always work.
"I've always been like that but at the same time, it would be a detriment to me if I was to go on and football is all there is. I have plans outside of football. This will help me get there."