Patriots’ right guard Brian Waters has not reported for Patriots’ Training Camp, though Bill Belichick has said the absence is “excused.” Waters was also “excused” from mandatory minicamp last month. This does nothing to quell the speculation that Waters, heading into his age 35 season, could retire, though a Boston Herald report from about 2 months back said that Waters would not be retiring.
Either way, the Patriots aren’t an organization who likes to enlighten the public. We either have to assume he’s retiring until we see him or assume he’s not retiring until he misses any games. If he does retire, it would be a huge loss to the Patriots because, in spite of his age, he still played at a very high level last season after being cut by Kansas City. Waters stepped in and immediately played very well, making the Pro Bowl (his 6th), and grading out as ProFootballFocus’ 4th rated guard.
To replace him, the Patriots would have to move center Dan Connolly, a mediocre player anyway, back to guard and start Dan Koppen, who is heading into his age 33 season and coming off a broken ankle that cost him most of 2011, at center. However, left guard Logan Mankins is also no sure thing for week 1 after partially tearing his ACL during the Super Bowl. Other options to replace him would include veteran Robert Gallery, who was awful last season in Seattle, or one of two inexperienced players, Ryan Wendell and Marcus Cannon, the latter of whom is currently listed as a tackle.