It would have been a bigger surprise to me if Brian Waters did report for the start of training camp.
At 35 and entering his 15th season of pro football, the Patriots left guard gets to work banker's hours because he's shown he can work banker's hours and not suffer.
Waters signed with the Patriots on September 4 of last year. Days later, he played seamlessly in the opener at Miami. And months after that, he was named to the Pro Bowl.
Bill Belichick will let veterans play by different rules provided those players are A) talented enough and B) professional.
It was a practice Belichick began with outside linebacker Roman Phifer back in 2001. And it's almost certainly what's up with Waters.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe got Waters on the phone Wednesday and Waters gave Bedard nothing.
"Im not really talking about it, youll have to talk to the Patriots about it, he said. At this moment, Im not really discussing the situation. Right now Im just handling things between me and the team. If they want to talk to you, thats fine but Im not really talking about it.Youre just going to have to talk to the team. Im allowing them to handle all the media stuff right now. Were going to do it this way, because its the best way to do it.Waters is under contract for this year. He skipped minicamp -- an excused absence, according to Bill Belichick -- and has been back home in Texas much of the offseason.
Do not expect him to stay there until the regular season.
As for the team releasing running back Joseph Addai on the eve of camp, that was a mild surprise. While Addai hasn't been a monster in past seasons for the Colts, he's still just 29 and figured to be a nice fit as a veteran back in a stable of young guys.
The Patriots have four backs on the roster, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden.
Will Martellus Bennett be back with the Patriots next season?
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's "a real possibility" Bennett leaves given the asking price and potential offers.
Less than an hour later, the unrestricted free agent sent out a tweet responding to speculation about his future.
Bennett, who will 30 years old in March, had seven touchdowns in 19 games in his first season with the New England Patriots.
LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England.
Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.
"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.
"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."
Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.
Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.
Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.