Brian Waters has gone missing in New England. Throughout training camp and the preseason, the star offensive guard has not reported for duty along with his teammates and the waters are muddy right now as to his intentions to return. Earlier in late July, head coach Bill Belichick said that Waters was going to be out and that it was excused. However a month later, is that still the case?
As much as can be discerned, it's possible that Waters might be retiring from the NFL rather than give it a go for another season. ESPN's Mike Reiss took the following quote from offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia about injured players returning as a possible insinuation that Waters was not expected back for New England.
"As much as we can, we're able to get bodies working side by side that hopefully will be working side by side when it's for real in September," said Scarnecchia. "We tried to keep Logan with Nate [Solder] and tried to keep Sebastian over there with [Dan] Connolly, and just give them some reps together. I think that's always a good thing."
If the Pats aren't planning on Waters' presence with the team in 2012, then that means one of two things: Waters is either retiring from the NFL or moving on to another team.
Is it possible that Waters could return to Kansas City in a mentor/depth role with the team? Certainly his presence would be welcome on a team with offensive line concerns for depth and experience. The team has several untested rookies along the second line in Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson, and that could come back to haunt the Chiefs if they don't make the appropriate moves.
In addition, Waters would also give a team who doesn't have a player over 30 on the roster an important dose of experience and wisdom. Technique in the NFL is everything and Waters has seen it all. Having Waters around to continue to mentor the interior linemen who are coming into their own -- or just starting out -- could be a key for KC.
It should also be said that Waters warranted a Pro Bowl spot last year for his work in front of Tom Brady. It's not as if Waters has nothing left in the tank. For the sake of competition, Waters could provide veteran competition for the guard spot he vacated when the team signed Lilja. In fact, if the team signed Waters, Lilja could become a casualty on the roster.
Finally it would be a homecoming for Waters that makes a lot of sense. The Chiefs need to embrace Waters as a pillar of their offense of the last decade, and Waters needs to do the same. While his experience in New England gave him the chance he wanted to make a deep post-season run, his career at Arrowhead is something to celebrate, cherish and remember.