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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush
There isn't a lot left to cross off the NFL to-do-list for Patriots ORG Brian Waters. A 12th-year veteran, Waters has been to six Pro Bowls and twice been named an All-Pro. He has started 16 games eight times in his career and has held the mantle as one of the game's better interior offensive linemen for the better part of the past decade.
On Sunday, Waters will try to add an exclamation point to an already impressive résumé. Having never won a postseason contest (in three appearances — 2003, 2006, 2010) in his first 11 years in the league, Waters will try to earn a Super Bowl ring in his first season as a member of the Patriots.
Waters, 34, a Waxahachie, Texas, native who went undrafted out of North Texas, was released by the Chiefs last July after spending his entire career with one organization. He said the mutual decision to part ways was difficult, although he thought at this stage of his career, it was the right time.
"The decision to leave Kansas City doesn't just come as a knee-jerk decision," Waters said. "It was one of those things where throughout the course of the offseason — even throughout the course of negotiations — I thought to myself, 'You know what? I don't know how much football I have left, and I know that the situation in Kansas City has not developed as far as some other programs.' And so I felt like I wanted to go to the program that was a little further along and gave me a little better opportunity to be here (in the Super Bowl). So there were a lot of opportunities there from different teams, but I felt like at the end of the day, this was the best one."
Waters had to get up to speed quickly after joining the Patriots only eight days before their first regular-season game. Although he was leaving a Chiefs offense run by former coordinator Charlie Weis, who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, New England's current scheme is much more expanded. He said communication was the most important part — as well as getting up to speed physically.
"Just trying to understand the pace; our practice pace at the beginning of practice is very high," he said. "I was out of football for a month, and although I thought I was in shape, I quickly found out that there was still work to do."
He said playing under Bill Belichick and the Patriots' coaching staff has not disappointed. The part he appreciates the most about Belichick and his staff is that the old guys and the young guys are treated the same way, and they all have the same opportunities.
A left guard in Kansas City, Waters also had the task of flipping sides and filling in at right guard for the first time. He said it was a bit challenging, although really just a matter of "flipping everything in your mind."
Waters definitely has the respect of his opponent.
"He's a physical football player," said Giants DT Chris Canty. "One of the things that stands out is he's a really strong guy. He gets those hands on you, and you're not really going anywhere. He's just one of those guys that's a veteran. He understands his role on their football team. He understands how to get his job done, how to be effective both in the run game and the pass game. He's just a pro's pro."
Waters has always been a leader in the locker room. Although he said the Patriots already had many established leaders upon his arrival, mentoring some of the younger players came naturally to him.
"My responsibilities in Kansas City were way different than they are here. I just wanted to come in and do my job, and over the course of time, working with these guys, being that I'm an older player on this football team, it just naturally happened."
Waters, the 2009 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, said all of his accomplishments on the field take a backseat to the work he has done off the field. Waters spoke very proudly of his Brian Waters 54 Foundation, which helps low-income children have a chance to go to college. He isn't sure what the future holds beyond Sunday, but he hopes to chip in to the community in New England.
For now, Waters is focused on protecting Patriots QB Tom Brady on Sunday against a dangerous and physical Giants front. Selected as a starter in the Pro Bowl although he had to skip it because of his Super Bowl commitment, Waters helped fortify one of the better pass-protecting offensive lines in football (ranked ninth). Just another humbling accomplishment in his impressive career.
"I know how hard it is to get here," he said. "You never know if it is going to be your first time or your last time. I just want my teammates to enjoy it. Be grateful for the opportunity; understand there are guys like myself who may never get this opportunity again.
"Stay accountable for that, and if they can try and put a little extra effort in for the old guys, I appreciate that, too."