Waters, 36, spent all of 2012 at home in Texas with his family after choosing not to report to the team before Week one. Waters was excused by Bill Belichick from all involuntary workouts, OTAs and all of training camp, but apparently decided that he was enjoying his time in Texas, and wanted to play closer to home.
Instead of releasing him or trying to trade him, Belichick did the smart thing and placed Waters on the Reserve/Did Not Report list; making it impossible for Waters to join a team like the Houston Texans, for example
The Patriots reportedly tried to entice Waters to come to work by offering a nearly $3 million pay raise over his $1.4 million salary, but it was to no avail. The team and Waters actually nearly agreed on a settlement, but could not finalize an agreement before the November 30 deadline for players to be taken off the Reserve/Did Not Report list.
In Waters' absence, the then thought to be starting center Dan Connolly was shifted over to right guard to replace Waters and long-time backup Ryan Wendell became the starting center. Connolly had a solid year at right guard while Wendell had an even better season as the starting center.
All I can say to Brian Waters is thank you for all that he did for the Patriots offensive line in 2011. While I didn't like how it all played out with him not showing up for work, we never would have known what Wendell could do as a starting center in the league. I can't fault a man for wanting to spend more time with his family, especially after all that the six-time pro bowler has given to this game.