Brian Waters has not officially been released by the New England Patriots. However if the storied offensive lineman returns to the 2011 AFC champions, it would be a big surprise after the developments of the past few days.
Waters’ uniform number was given to rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower and now it’s being reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss that his locker nameplate has been removed. Those are not signs of a player who is planning to return.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not Waters plans on playing for the Patriots or any NFL team in 2012. The lineman definitely proved he has the ability to play at a high level given the Pro Bowl appearance last season for the Patriots — a season that included a first-time Super Bowl run and 19 starts for the potential Hall of Fame candidate.
If Waters decided to retire, some sort of movement back to the Chiefs, the franchise that Waters spent the majority of his career, could be in the cards. Or perhaps the team could even sign him to play a final season back in Kansas City to help bolster the line. After all, the only depth the team has at any offensive line position are the two rookie draft picks of Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson.
Check out more info on the Patriots at Pats Pulpit.