With uncertainty over their health at right guard, the Patriots added a seriously skilled veteran into their mix of offensive linemen.
The Pats reportedly reached an agreement with five-time Pro Bowler Brian Waters, whose 11-year career with the Chiefs ended in July. The 34-year-old hasn't been on a football field since last season, so it might be unrealistic to expect him to be ready for the team's Week 1 game in Miami, but the Patriots might not have any choice if Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell can't suit up.
Connolly suffered an ankle injury during the Patriots' third preseason game against the Lions, but he was walking around the Gillette Stadium game field without a limp or brace after the team wrapped up its preseason schedule Thursday night.
Wendell reportedly suffered a calf injury early in training camp and hasn't practiced since July 31. He's been working out to the side of practice for a couple weeks, and he has also been spotted several times in the locker room, which is typically an indication that a player is getting closer to returning to the field.
The Patriots only carried eight offensive linemen onto their initial 53-man roster, which made it seem like they were planning to sign someone else. Wendell was the only interior lineman out of the three backups that also included tackles Nate Solder and Steve Maneri. Other candidates at guard were Rich Ohrnberger (placed on injured reserve) and Thomas Austin (released).
Waters has the reputation of being a great presence in the locker room, and his veteran ability should be an asset to the Patriots, whether the plan is to start him in Week 1 or push Connolly for his job later in the season. At the very least, Waters will provide some quality depth and dependability off the bench.
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