If the Patriots’ offensive line struggles in today’s opener against the Titans, Brian Waters‘ phone might ring tonight.
Waters, the veteran guard who signed a two-year contract with the Patriots last year and had a very strong season, starting every game up to and including the Super Bowl, has not returned to the team this year, and there’s been no word on whether or when he will. But Patriots owner Bob Kraft made clear that the team would like to have him back.
“I’ve learned, I don’t sit in judgment of anyone until I find myself walking in their shoes. I don’t know what’s going on in his private life, what the different concerns are,” Kraft told the Boston Herald. “Surely, we would have liked to have had him. I’m still not giving up hope that maybe he still wants to come back. But, you know, it’s a rigorous, strenuous . . . he came in last year right before the start of the season and performed beautifully. We’ll see what happens.”
Both sides have been quiet about Waters’ absence, but there have been hints that Waters is holding out for more money. As Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com notes, it’s surprising that when Waters joined the Patriots just days before the start of the season last year, he signed a two-year contract. A one-year contract is the more common deal for a veteran who’s coming to a team late in the offseason, and a one-year contract would have made it clear to both sides that they’d need to renegotiate if Waters were going to return in 2012.
Instead, Waters is still under contract to the Patriots, but he isn’t in the Patriots’ locker room. The Patriots are still hoping that might change.