By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO - The red carpet has been rolled out so long the edges have frayed. Brian Waters, the Patriots' recalcitrant right guard, really ought to tell the team he signed a two-yearcontract with last September whether he plans to honor it or not. The effort in Foxboro to make sure the words "Waters" and"whine" don't find their wayinto the same sentencehas been well executed. The Patriots kept his locker intact. They haven't fined him for skipping every bit of the 2012 offseason. They've tiptoed around his absence by calling it "excused" back in June and letting that description roll through training camp and the preseason. But it's a holdout now. And, perhaps in recognition of that, the Patriots have allowed rookie Dont'a Hightower to take over the No. 54 that Waters has vacated either permanently or for now. With the opener against the Titans now six days away, it's time for the 35-year-old to poop or get off the pot, as my father used to indelicately put it. If he wants to drive the kids to school and fish all day down in Denton, Texas, God bless him. Retire. Get on with it. If he wants to extract more money from the Patriots, then they ought to treat him as they have every other guy who holds out and make it a penal situation until he shows. Fine him. If he wants to be traded to a team closer to his home in Texas, a murmur that'sbeen gaining steam on Monday, he probably should fold that tent unless someone's anteing up a fourth-round pick or better.That means the onus is on Waters. Hey, it's great if you want it your way and can manage the situation so that you get it. But the only card Waters holds is withholding his services. And we've seen in the past, the Patriots don't often blink in these staredowns. Certainly not with a hired gun who showed up September 4 last year, played well through the Super Bowl and hasn't been seen since. Asked Monday if Waters is now a "holdout," Bill Belichick said he didn't have anything to add to the situation. But the Patriots are clearly in "moving on" mode now. The bus is rolling slowly away from the stop. He can still get on. He can chase it down and hop on. Whatever he wants to do. One additional thing to note, selfish as Waters' move is, teammates won't necessarily be pissed at him and Waters likely couldn't care less if they are. He's a hired gun. It'd be nice to have him. The Patriots' world will revolve if he shows up to play for his 1.4 million salary or stays in Texas playing Marco Polo in the pool.
Time's come for Waters to make a move
September 3, 2012, 5:13 pm