Waters' nameplate has been taken off his locker, according to multiple reports. No official announcement has been made regarding Waters' future, and according to The Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young, Bill Belichick will be unavailable Friday to comment on the move.
In reality, removing the nameplate could signal nothing major, but given the unpredictability surrounding the Waters situation, there's many who believe this could signify the end of the 35-year-old's career or that a lengthy holdout is forthcoming.
Waters, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first season in New England, is under contract with the Patriots for the 2012 season, but he hasn't reported to the team yet. Bill Belichick maintained throughout minicamp and training camp that the guard's absence was for personal reasons, but he said recently of the situation, "He's either an active player or he's not an active player, and he's not an active player. He's not on the roster."
It's the second think-what-you'd-like piece of news regarding Waters this week. On Monday, rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower was issued Waters' No. 54, which also led to questioning about if and when Waters will return.
For now, we must wait. Just don't expect to see Waters protecting Tom Brady on Sunday.