Warren told ESPN "First Take" host Dana Jacobson he made the decision to be prepared for the looming lockout and to set an example for his children. Warren has three daughters and another child on the way.
"I've got to be a leader of my household as well as a leader on that team," Warren said. "I earned my bones as being a guy that shows up to work on a daily basis with the Patriots organization to do what I'm doing now. It's as sacrifice that I chose to make. I've got to live with it, right, wrong or indifferent."
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss wrote about Warren's academic pursuit and noted this is the first time since Warren entered the league as a 2003 first-round draft choice he will miss significant chunks of the offseason program.
Warren, who recorded 57 tackles and one sack last year, told Reiss he would attend mandatory workouts.
Warren is on track to complete his agriculture development and leadership degree in the spring of 2011.
"I hate to say my career may end tomorrow," Warren said, "but in reality that could happen, and you've got to be prepared for that."