Saturday Morning Coffee: Will Brian Waters Play Or Retire?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Center Dan Connolly #63 of the New England Patriots prepares to hike the ball against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After a month long hiatus (my apologies), the 'Saturday Morning Coffee' is back and better than ever! Hope you enjoy your morning on this third day of Training Camp. Expected to be a pad-practice today. Enjoy! (-Jared)

On Wednesday--just one day before the New England Patriots started practicing at Training Camp--we learned that a key contributor to the team's success in 2011 would not be showing up. The team revealed that veteran guard Brian Waters did not report to Training Camp, raising even more questions about his future and the offensive line.

With Waters a no-show at Training Camp, this makes the third of three offseason activities that he has missed. When asked about Waters' status on Thursday, Bill Belichick said that his situation was similar to that of the case with OTAs and mandatory minicamp--when Waters was excused because of "personal reasons".

While many still believe Waters will come back and play next season, every day that he's not here makes Patriots fans worry even more. This uncertainty has led to many to ask the question: Will he, or won't he play?

If he does decide to play, he will provide a huge lift to this questionable group that is the Patriots offensive line. With fellow starting lineman Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer still rehabilitating injuries, Waters not being here has really stretched the Patriots thin on the line.

On Friday, the Patriots were using Nate Solder (LT), Robert Gallery (LG), Dan Koppen (C), Dan Connolly (RG) and Marcus Cannon (RT) on the offensive line. Sans Solder, Yikes.

If he doesn't decide to play, it is likely that Dan Connolly will take over as the starter at right guard, with a much older Dan Koppen commanding the line at center. While that situation isn't not the end of the world, having a Pro-Bowler in Brian Waters on your offensive line makes things look a lot better.

At age 35, it's quite possible that Waters is just spending some quality time with his family before heading back to work. During his final years in Kansas City, Waters did not attend any of the Chiefs' offseason workouts. Keep in mind, Waters wasn't signed by the Patriots last year until September, and he was able to start all 16 games and perform at a Pro Bowl level.

However, one thing Waters hasn't done is miss team Training Camp. While it's common for older players to want to skip out on going to camp, it's just a bit unsettling that he's not said anything himself about skipping camp.

Following the Super Bowl loss to the Giants, Waters said publicly that he would contemplate retirement during the offseason. He's one of the best guards in NFL history, and should be a Hall of Fame candidate in my books. While I fully believe he's got a case of veteran not wanting to go to camp syndrome, might the Super Bowl have been the last we've seen of Brian Waters?

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