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.
BOSTON -- Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's fiancee testified in his double-murder trial Thursday that she learned to keep her mouth shut and "not to ask any questions" in certain situations.
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez testified against Hernandez under a grant of immunity from prosecutors. She and Hernandez have a 4-year-old daughter. She said she took Hernandez's last name in 2015.
Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting two men in Boston in July 2012 after an encounter at a Boston nightclub. He is also charged with witness intimidation in the shooting of Alexander Bradley, allegedly to silence him about the killings.
Jenkins-Hernandez repeatedly said she could not recall details about conversations with Hernandez after the 2012 killings and after Bradley's shooting in 2013.
She said she didn't ask Hernandez for details about Bradley's shooting, even though Hernandez and Bradley were close friends.
"[Bradley] was not my friend . . . Yes, it's a sad situation [but] why should I press about something like that?" she said.
Jenkins-Hernandez also said she did not recall getting a call from Hernandez at 2:37 a.m. on July 16, 2012, minutes after prosecutors say Hernandez shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado as they sat in a car at a stop light in Boston. Prosecutors said phone records show a 17-second call from Hernandez to her at that time.
Hernandez has denied shooting the men. His lawyer told the jury during opening statements that Bradley shot the men over a drug deal.
Bradley testified he saw Hernandez shoot the men. He also said Hernandez shot him in the face months later after he made a remark about the Boston shootings.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 killing of a man who was dating the sister of Jenkins-Hernandez.
In this week's jam packed episode of CSNNE.com's "Celtics Talk Podcast", Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk with former Celtic Leon Powe about this year's team, plus his role on the 2008 Championship squad. Powe tells some great stories about Kevin Garnett, and has an interesting take on Ray Allen not being invited to the reunion vacation Rajon Rondo is planning.
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Also included in this week's episode, Brian Scalabrine's interview with head coach Brad Stevens, plus the "Celtics PostUp" crew talks with Jae Crowder about his many nicknames, whether the 1st seed in the East is important, and his improvement on the floor.