Waters sought own level of excellence

Waters sought own level of excellence
January 4, 2012, 4:45 pm

FOXBORO - Rank Brian Waters' signing as one of the best of the Bill Belichick Era. For an offensive line in desperate flux all season, he's been an amazingly steady, dependable part.

Think about it, heading into this season, the Patriots hadn't really replaced right guard Stephen Neal, they just "next man upped" the position and let Dan Connolly have it.

Then a ton of their offensive line depth got ripped through. Guys like Rich Ohrnberger wound up on IR before the season started and injuries to Dan Koppen and Connolly brought the shuffle on.

Into the breach has stepped Waters, signed September 4 to a two-year, 3 million deal that is a steal. He brings talent, smarts and tremendous leadership to the team and seems so genuinely happy to be here after spending his entire 11-year career in Kansas City before this year.

"The year itself has been really good for me because I've come to a place where I've been accepted and I feel very comfortable here so that's been the most positive part for me," said the 35-year-old Waters, a Pro Bowl selection this year for the sixth time in his career.

New England wasn't something the Dallas native necessarily sought. But after three playoff appearances - all losses - in Kansas City, his current reality is very acceptable.

"You have to be a fool to be in this game this long and think you're going to play your entire career in one place," said Waters. "It's a difficult thing to think about until you're actually in it. It wasn't anything that passed over my mind a lot until the situation presented itself."

When it did, Waters came willingly and hit the ground in Miami running, plugged into the Patriots lineup right away.

It's been a terrific fit for both sides.