Kaczur turns informantPats lineman at hub of drug sting
By ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media
A long, losing night at Super Bowl XLII now appears to be the least of the troubles facing Canadian Nick Kaczur following an off-season drug bust and his alleged role in a dramatic sting operation.
The New England Patriots offensive lineman, who was born and raised in Brantford, is embroiled in a drama that first had him arrested for possession of a potent painkiller, then reportedly playing a key role in helping nail his alleged supplier.
Depending on the fallout, there are questions surrounding the future of Kaczur, whose rise from a construction worker in his home town to Super Bowl starter was a captivating story.
According to a report in the Boston Globe, Kaczur's troubles began in April when he was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after being stopped for speeding in New York State. That substance -- potent painkiller oxycodone -- is illegal to possess without a prescription.
The report alleges Kaczur was wired to help federal agents nab the alleged dealer, Daniel Ekasala.
Calls to Kaczur's cell phone yesterday were unanswered and Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team was "deferring all questions to the appropriate law enforcement officials."
When confronted by the Boston Globe at his home in Attleboro, Mass., Kaczur, who once was a first-round draft pick of the CFL Argonauts, said: "I don't know what you are talking about, bro."
JOB IN PERIL?
While the Patriots say the 28-year-old Kaczur is still on the roster, there is talk that his job -- and $1.3-million US salary -- could be in peril.
A two-year starter, Kaczur was widely criticized after the New England offensive line was manhandled by the Giants in the 17-14 Super Bowl loss to spoil the Patriots' bid for an unbeaten season.
On Monday, the Patriots signed veteran lineman Oliver Ross to a one-year contract. Like Kaczur, Ross' preferred position is right tackle. While it could be coincidence, the timing is at the least curious given it came a day prior to Ekasala being indicted on three counts of possession of oxycodone.
The NFL has yet to comment on the issue, but if Kaczur is found guilty, he would be in violation of the league's substance-abuse policy and could face a fine and suspension.
According to the Globe report, the sting operation took place at three locations not far from Foxborough where the Patriots' home field, Gillette Stadium, is located. Kaczur, who has been bothered by foot and shoulder injuries, reportedly told authorities he had been purchasing the drug from Ekasala since this past November.
"It's not the kind of thing you associate with Nick," one of his former high school coaches, Gerry Procter, told Sun Media's John Paul Zronik. "It comes as a real shock. I know he has had some shoulder problems but I had no idea this was going on."