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Patriots give Waters' No. 54 to Hightower

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By PFW staff

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has refused to address why OG Brian Waters, who is under contract, has not reported to camp.

The media has been left to speculate his future through more untraditional means. The latest tidbit comes from the Boston Globe's Shalize Manza Young, who reports that the team has issued first-round LB Dont'a Hightower Waters' old Ni. 54 jersey.

What does this mean? Perhaps nothing. Waters still has a locker at the Patriots' facility, and it has remained untouched during the course of the offseason. Waters has been a no-show for the Patriots' required OTA and training-camp sessions, but there have been no reports of him being fined.

Hightower, who had been wearing No. 45 in preseason action, received his new digits on Monday, per the report. NFL rules state that linebackers must have uniform numbers of 50 or higher.

Waters is not on the team's active roster currently, having been moved to the "reserve/did not report" list. The Patriots face the Titans on Sept. 9 in the season opener.

Belichick's latest statement on Waters' status, less than a week prior to the team's opener at Tennessee, revealed little more.

"He's not on the roster," Belichick said. "He's either an active player or he's not an active player, and he's not on the roster.

"I don't have any more to add to the situation."

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