The Brian Waters saga continues, as the New England Patriots have removed the veteran guard’s nameplate off of his locker, per a tweet from Jeff Howe. The reactions have been mixed, with some fans believing that this means Waters is definitely not coming back and others believing that this isn’t something to read too much into.
I tend to take the middle ground in these situations, and I believe that the nameplate being removed from Waters’s locker isn’t something that should be taken likely. However, it isn’t conclusive evidence pointing to the impossibility of Waters returning to the Pats; far from it.
Waters has been a classy guy during his long NFL career thus far, so, based on that fact, one would think that he would have enough class to retire before putting his team through something like this. He’s from Texas and doesn’t want to leave his family, but I would think that he would have made his decision to retire a few weeks ago as opposed to dragging it out until today.
But you never know. Maybe there is more to this than we think, maybe it’s an extremely difficult choice for him, maybe he will return at a later point, or maybe he is choosing to show a lack of class. That’s a lot of “maybes” to take note of, to the point where there are likely multiple causes. It’s likely something between the second and third “maybes” at this point, but the fact of the matter is that the removal of Waters nameplate means that we shouldn’t count on his return. We should think of the right guard spot being Dan Connolly’s and the center spot being Ryan Wendell’s. Sure it would be great to have Waters, but the interior of the line is still solid without him; the worry is the depth at tackles at this point.
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