- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots begin preparations for the season opener against the Titans today, and they do so without veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters.
Waters has not reported to the team, coach Bill Belichick said Sunday.
The 35-year-old Waters missed all of training camp and the preseason after being placed on the "did-not-report" list. Belichick previously explained that he had been excused with a personal absence.
One line of thinking was that Waters might rejoin the Patriots after training camp. That would have saved him the rigors of going through a camp, especially after proving last season that he could play at a high level without being part of one.
Last year, Waters signed with the Patriots on Sept. 4 and was started in the season opener Sept. 12. Waters ultimately started all 19 games for the Patriots last season (16 regular season, 3 playoffs).
In his absence, seven-year veteran Dan Connolly is a likely candidate to start at right guard. With Connolly potentially moving from center to right guard, four-year veteran Ryan Wendell (five career starts) is a top candidate to start at center.