Brian Waters saga takes another twist

One of the biggest mysteries this summer involves the future of New England Patriots starting guard Brian Waters.

Both the team and Waters have been mum on his status. Waters is under contract for one more season but has yet to report with the Patriots, who will play their first regular-season game Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

No one is exactly sure why Waters hasn't showed up. But Friday Waters had his name plate removed from the locker room, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. In addition, Waters' No. 54 jersey was handed to rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower last week.

Perhaps these are clues the Patriots are ready to move on without Waters. New England's offensive line could certainly use the guard this season. But there are games to play and the team cannot allow this to become a distraction.