Bruschi will see his old number worn by Brian Waters this season. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

You knew it was going to happen eventually.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reported this morning via Twitter that newly signed offensive lineman Brian Waters has been assigned his jersey number, and for those of you scoring at home he’ll be wearing #54 – Tedy Bruschi’s old number.

This is the second time this year we’ve seen a player wear a former Patriot great’s number, with runningback Richard Medlin also wearing #37, which was Rodney Harrison’s old number.

It’s somewhat interesting that they’ve both been worn by players who play much different positions, and in the case of Waters – it’s probably a good thing.  With the limited number of jersey numbers available – as well as the fact they can’t retire everyone’s numbers – the best way to deal with that situation is to potentially retire them from being worn at that position.

Granted that’s not necessarily what’s going on in this situation, but judging by the reactions on Twitter by fans this morning, Waters would likely receive far more criticism and outrage from fans if he was playing that position.  Bruschi left some serious shoes to fill at the position itself, let alone having to play there and where the jersey.

Bruschi told the Boston Herald last December that he never wanted his number retired, and felt that other numbers should be unretired.

“It was never really my goal to have my number retired,” Bruschi said. “I wanted to win championships, and whatever came with that, so be it. I know the Patriots have a good amount of numbers that are retired. I would love to see a linebacker in the future wear number ‘54’ and perform well. I would love to see that. All retired numbers of the New England Patriots should be unretired and other players should be able to wear those numbers. Realize the history of the number and who wore that number before and the standard that they should try and uphold of past players.”

Hopefully Waters will have the same success this season keeping opposing linebackers off of his fellow offensive players as Bruschi did making their lives difficult during his amazing tenure here in New England.