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Waters happy to be with 'a contender year in and year out'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Brian Waters spent training camp playing with his kids.

Now the veteran offensive lineman feels he's playing with a Super Bowl contender.

The New England Patriots talked to Waters last week and by Monday, one week before the season opener at Miami, Waters was in the locker room preparing for his first practice.

"I had numerous phone calls. It was just about finding a situation that was best for me," said Waters, a five-time Pro Bowl guard. "It's a great organization, so why not? The record speaks for itself. It's a football team that's a contender year in and year out."

Waters said he got the call Friday, visited New England on Saturday and reached a deal Sunday.

The Patriots could use the experience on the line, where right guard Dan Connolly has been out since injuring his ankle in the third preseason game. The Patriots also placed center Rich Ohrnberger on injured reserve.

Although he has played mostly at left guard, the Patriots are set there with Logan Mankins, who went to his third Pro Bowl last season.

"I've been a fan of Brian's for quite a while now," said Mankins, whose locker is next to Waters' cubicle. "He's a good player and a good guy, so we're happy to have him."

Waters said he could move over to the right side if that's where the Patriots need him.

He is a welcome addition to the Patriots, who need to do everything they can to protect quarterback Tom Brady by keeping the offensive line well stocked. Once the lockout ended, the Patriots re-signed free agent left tackle Matt Light, who will continue to protect Brady' blind side.

Mankins, a holdout for seven games last season in a contract dispute, has a new six-year deal, and the Patriots drafted Colorado tackle Nate Solder in the first round. By grabbing Waters, New England adds 320 pounds of very experienced bulk to the front line.

"I'm glad he's on this side," nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "I'll tell you that."

Waters spent 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before he was released at the end of July. Waters says it was a mutual parting. Waters also is a member of the NFL Players Association's executive committee, which kept him busy during the lockout.

He expected to play again, even as teams completed training camp and the preseason with Waters still at home.

"Being home with the family, there's nothing wrong with that. That's not a bad thing at all. I was enjoying that time," he said. "This is what I do. I wanted to play this year and it just so happened that a great opportunity presented itself to me."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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