A Gamble Pays Off … Friday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Brian Waters sat at a big round table under a big white tent talking to a big group of media types about the biggest game of the football season.

And, he couldn’t stop smiling. It was a big smile.

“Yeah, it all turned out pretty well,” said the former Chiefs Pro Bowl guard, who is now the starting right guard of the AFC Champion New England Patriots. “This is what I was hoping for.”

It’s a football version of what people that buy lottery tickets hope for – the big payoff. After 11 seasons with the Chiefs where he went from being a street free agent that failed to make it in Dallas to Pro Bowl status, he’s been a member of the Patriots for five months now and is just 60 minutes away from reaching the pinnacle of his profession.

“Every player wants this opportunity,” Waters said. “That’s why I didn’t have to think twice about coming here.”

The process of divorcing himself from the Chiefs and landing with a contender couldn’t have played out any better for Waters. He got to miss the Chiefs 7-9 season and all the turmoil surrounding the team. He got to miss training camp and the entire pre-season, as he sat at home with his family in Dallas and waited for another chance to play.

Several teams called, but when it was the Patriots on the phone, he was out the door and headed for New England before the call was even completed.

“No question,” Waters said, that smile growing larger, “There really wasn’t anything to think about.”

And it’s been giggles ever since, as the Patriots won division and conference titles and are back in the Super Bowl again. Waters started every game at right guard, even though he didn’t arrive on campus until the first days of September. He played well enough to earn another Pro Bowl nod, although he missed

“Playing in February for the first time in my career, playing with a bunch of guys that make up this team, playing in a working environment that is so consistent, it’s been fun,” Waters said.

There wasn’t always a lot of fun in his final days playing for the Chiefs. Yes, the team did go to the playoffs after the 2010 season, but that was only the third post-season game in Waters career and like the first two in 2003 and 2006, they were unable to advance in the tournament.

There was his now infamous visit in the spring of 2009 with new head coach Todd Haley where he was told that the coach could pick 22 guys off the street and win more than the two games the Chiefs were able to win in the 2008 season.

Throw in his active participation with the NFL Players Association in negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement over the last two years and that ate up a lot of his time and attention.

He showed up in Kansas City on July 28th, summoned to a meeting with GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley.

“I didn’t know what their plan for the meeting was and I didn’t have a plan, but there wasn’t any question we needed to talk,” said Waters. “I know people don’t believe it when I say this, but we came to a mutual decision that it would be better if they released me and I left the Chiefs. Scott Pioli didn’t force me out. In fact, at one point he was trying to talk me into staying.

“But the more we talked, the more it seemed like it was time for a change. I enjoyed playing for the Chiefs and loved playing in Kansas City, but other than winning a championship, there wasn’t much more that I hadn’t accomplished and the chances …”

What Waters left unsaid was that the chances of a Chiefs championship at that point in July 2011 were not good any season soon.

“I can’t say that,” Waters said of the Chiefs post-season opportunities. “I just knew that at some point you have to know when it’s time to kind of move away and that point came this off-season. At that point, you kind of figure, you ask yourself ‘is there a better opportunity for you out there?’ This opportunity was presented to me and I felt like it was the best chance for me to get here (Super Bowl).”

Waters was released on that July 28th as the owners lockout had ended and teams were getting ready to start up training camps.

“I wasn’t thinking in any way of retiring,” Waters said. “I planned on playing. I didn’t know where. I also knew I wasn’t going to rush into anything. I was going to take my time and when the right offer came around, I would know it.”

That offer came from the Patriots, where he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract. New England had big injury problems along their offensive line and the two players expected to fight for the position – Dan Connolly and Rich Ohrnberger were injured and unavailable as the Pats prepared to open the season.

Waters buried his nose in his playbook for a week and started the season opener against Miami. He started the next 17 games as well, including victories in the playoffs over Denver and Baltimore.

It’s all led to this week in Indianapolis and a chance to experience the game every one that straps on the pads wants to play.

Brian Waters gamble paid off and paid off big.

“It’s one of those things that I’m going to remember for a long time,” said Waters.

He’ll remember it with a smile.

11 Responses to “A Gamble Pays Off … Friday Cup O’Super Bowl”

  • February 3, 2012  - James says:

    Hope he gets his ring.

  • February 3, 2012  - bhive01 says:

    Ditto James. I wish the guy nothing but the best. I also wish he could have won a superbowl for KC along with Tony Gonzalez, but that’s not how it panned out.

    It’d be nice if the Pats win and he returns to KC to retire (if he can stay away from the next season).

  • February 3, 2012  - Milkman says:

    This is a great story about a great football warrior. Water’s story reads like a fairy tale from the moment he signed as a free agent tight end with Dallas until he plays on the biggest stage as a pro bowl offensive lineman. Funny though how he doesn’t vilify the Chiefs front office like all the Kansas City media seems to think is all the rage now. Quite the contrary. It sounds like the front office was very understanding when they really didn’t have to be. The only negative experience that was mentioned was his initial conversation with our previous head coach. Just maybe things aren’t quite as bad at 1 Arrowhead Drive as we are being led to believe….

  • February 3, 2012  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Yes, I’m sure everything is peaches and cream at One Arrowhead. Each person will believe what they want to believe but the point of the story is we had one of our long standing best players on our team leave for reasons that’ll never be explained who went on to another pro bowl season and got to play in the SB while our line was arguably worse for his loss. Good for him and I’m happy he got there. Let’s move on and see what the future brings for us and just agree to disagree about fault. One thing is clear. If things don’t go well moving forward the blame won’t be cloaked in shadows and fog again.

  • February 3, 2012  - el cid says:

    john, take your blood pressure meds and check yesterdays interview with Pioli and Crennel. Everything is good at Arrowhead. Then take an additional dose and read the posters comments, heck they think 2012 is going to be the Chiefs coming out party and we apparently do not need an OC or improvement. Haley was the great devil and with the next draft, get your superbowl reservations.

  • February 3, 2012  - Craig says:

    Great Story Bob! I wish the best for Brian Waters, Pro-Bowler again. I know folks thought he was washed up, but he proved them wrong. His only problem was representing the players. It could not happen to a nicer, better guy. Go Chiefs.

  • February 3, 2012  - Tim says:

    I’m so very happy he’s gotten the opportunity. So many worthy players in the Chiefs past never did. Go Brian!

  • February 3, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    It’s really nice to get a warm feeling story after some of the crap lately. I bet Lamar would of loved it.

  • February 3, 2012  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    Meanwhile, Tony Gonzalez languishes in Atlanta and is not able to reach this next level. Worst part is that Tony has “Mr. Ed” (Shannon Sharpe) reminding him of his SB rings.

    I wonder if they also use peanut butter in his mouth to make Shannon appear like he’s talking on TV?????

    Go CHIEFS!

  • February 3, 2012  - txchief says:

    I’m happy to see Brian get a chance to earn a Superbowl (R) ring. I just wish he was in a Chiefs uniform while doing it.

    And by the way, Brian’s comments would seem to support the contention that working with Haley was rather difficult, and that ol’ tin foil hat could not command or earn the respect of his players.

  • February 3, 2012  - Gary says:

    A true Pro. Keep smiling Brian. You deserve this opportunity.

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