Monday, January 30, 2012
Brian Waters hopes for a special week
By Bill Williamson
Guard Brian Waters (54) is rooting for his former teammate tackle Willie Roaf (77) to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Brian Waters couldn’t be happier with his decision to join the New England Patriots.
But as the 12-year NFL veteran prepares for his first Super Bowl, he will allow himself to reflect about his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the early part of the last decade, the Chiefs were considered to have the best offensive line in the NFL. Along with Waters, the unit was anchored by fellow guard Will Shields and left tackle Willie Roaf.
While Waters will be in Indianapolis this week to prepare to face the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Shields and Roaf will be awaiting to see if they will be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Shields and Roaf are among the 17 finalists for election into the Canton, Ohio museum. The vote will be held Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl.
Waters didn’t need to be reminded of the connection.
“I’ve already thought about it,” Waters said. “It’s going to be a special time for all of us. We all have an opportunity to accomplish something we’ve all worked so hard to get. I’m really glad I’m able to share this week with those guys. We were a special group.”
It has to please Chiefs fans to see that Waters is carrying a piece of his Kansas City past with him as he readies for the biggest game of his life. Waters will go down as an all-time great Chief. After as signing as free agent in 2000 (the undrafted Waters was on Dallas’ practice squad in 1999), Waters became a stalwart in Kansas City. He made six Pro Bowls as a member of the Chiefs, including last season. Extremely charitable off the field, Waters won the prestigious NFL man of the Year award in 2009.
However, Waters was cut by the Chiefs during the summer. Waters said it was a mutual decision that worked out well for both sides. There were rumblings that the Chiefs no longer thought Waters was a starting-quality player and that’s why he was cut. Waters said he never got that feel. If there were any questions about Waters’ abilities, he answered them in New England. He made the Pro Bowl again and he was widely considered one of the best guards in the NFL at the age of 34. He was dominant in the win over Baltimore in the AFC championship game.
Five weeks lapsed between Waters being cut in Kansas City and him signing with the Patriots. Waters said there were times when he wondered if he wanted to continue his career, but a lack of offers wasn’t a problem. “The phone rang every day,” he said. Once the he got the right call, Waters grabbed his shoulder pads.
“This was the right play place for me,” Waters said. “I’ve enjoyed this year so much it’s been a very smooth transition for me and now we get the chance to play the game that I’ve always wanted to play in.”
Could Waters imagine hoisting the Lombardi Trophy a day after his close friends get to punch a ticket to Canton?