Nine-year veteran pass-rusher Derrick Burgess, who did not report Thursday for the start of the New England Patriots' training camp, is considering retirement from the NFL, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
Burgess, 31, re-signed with the Patriots this spring, after a three-month stint as an unrestricted free agent garnered only modest interest in him. He received a one-year, $1.5 million contract from the Pats.
Expected to provide New England with an outside pass rush, Burgess recorded only five sacks in '09, his first season with New England.
Sources said that, as recently as Wednesday, Burgess told associates that he was leaning toward retirement. Those same sources indicated, however, that Burgess could still change his mind about his immediate future. Patriots officials have been apprised that Burgess may retire.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick confirmed Friday that Burgess did not report for camp.
"We expected him to be here, he's not here," Belichick said. "This type of situation certainly isn't unprecedented. We'll just deal with it going forward. I'm not sure I know exactly all the information that I need to know."
Although the veteran has primarily lined up at end, he played outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme. Often criticized by the New England media in '09, Burgess was actually lauded by coach Bill Belichick late in the season for his solid play. The nine-year pro was acquired by the Patriots in 2009, in a trade with Oakland, but had just one season remaining on his contract at the time.
A third-round draft pick of Philadelphia in 2001, the former Mississippi standout played four seasons for the Eagles (2001-2004), before signing with the Raiders as a free agent in 2005. He played four seasons in Oakland (2005-2008) before last year's trade to the Patriots.
In 101 appearances, Burgess has 73 starts. For his career, he has 262 tackles, 52 sacks, seven pass deflections, and six forced fumbles. Burgess led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2005, and followed that up with 11 sacks in '06. He has only 16½ sacks, however, in his last three seasons and 8½ the past two years.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.