Patriots notebook

Lineman Kaczur owns up to off-field mistake

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / August 3, 2008

FOXBOROUGH - Nick Kaczur admitted yesterday that he made a mistake when he was pulled over in New York state in April while in possession of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, setting off a chain of events that led to him becoming an undercover informant in a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that led to the federal indictment of an alleged OxyContin dealer.

Kaczur was charged with misdemeanor drug possession stemming from the original incident April 27, but the charge will be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for six months. When he appeared in Oneida County court July 22, two days before the opening of training camp, Kaczur pleaded guilty to speeding and paid a $355 fine. He also was made to enter a two-year drug treatment plan administered by the Patriots through the NFL.

The offensive lineman, who was the team's regular right tackle in 2007, starting a career-high 15 games, said he just wants to put his offseason trouble behind him.

"I definitely made a mistake," said Kaczur. "It's football season now. I'm trying to put everything behind me and concentrate on the season now.

"It's a good thing I have the support of a great organization, and my teammates were all behind me and my family and my wife. It's just time to focus on the season now and put everything behind me."

Kaczur repeatedly thanked the Patriots organization for its support but declined to go into details of what was said or what action the team took against him. The team put him on the physically unable to perform list to start camp and removed him from the list and let him start practicing a week ago today.

He also would not say if his legal dealings are over. It's still possible Kaczur could have to testify against Daniel Ekasala, the alleged OxyContin dealer he helped federal authorities nab.

Kaczur, a Brantford, Ontario, native, also declined to explain how he ended up with 202 OxyContin pills with Canadian markings in his car at the time he was pulled over.

"I'm not going to comment on that. I'm just trying to move on past that and put everything behind me," said Kaczur.

The 29-year-old Kaczur, who has been working at left tackle recently with Matt Light out of practice since Sunday, said he never intended to contribute to an offseason in which running back Kevin Faulk and former Patriot Willie Andrews, who was released after allegedly pointing a gun at his girlfriend, also ran afoul of the law and embarrassed the team.

"Well, I definitely did not want to bring anything like that to them," said Kaczur. "You definitely got to be embarrassed of things that you do, but to be a man, you got to take what you did wrong and move past it and step up. So, that's what I'm doing now."

Brady limpingTom Brady celebrates his 31st birthday today, but he might be doing it with a sore left leg. The franchise quarterback winced in pain and limped around after he tweaked something in the area of his left calf and ankle during practice on a throw to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney.

Brady threw another pass following the injury, but he was forced to leave the situational session and then sat out the next set of drills. He did return during the following period of practice and finished the session without any apparent problem.

Welker returns
Practice was a drop-filled affair, as Patriots pass-catchers struggled to corral the football. There were at least a dozen drops by a variety of receivers, including Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Chad Jackson.

Welker, who had a couple of drops, at least had an excuse since it was his first practice of training camp. He spent some extra time catching passes from the JUGS machine after practice.

"I was a little bit rusty. I think really, not so much running, I felt in shape and everything like that, but just catching the ball, and when they're coming on a line, you just got to get used to those," said Welker. "Made sure I got on the JUGS machine afterwards and worked on that stuff, so it's just one of those deals you have to get used to and get better at."

Clement on IR
The Patriots placed veteran offensive lineman Anthony Clement on injured reserve with a knee injury and signed offensive lineman Barry Stokes. Clement, a 10-year veteran who spent last season with the Jets, had struggled through camp. The 34-year-old spent last season with the Lions but did not play in any games. The 6-foot-4-inch, 310-pounder, who was given No. 75, has played in 83 career games with 44 starts for the Dolphins, Packers, Browns, Falcons, and Lions . . . In addition to Welker and cornerback Ellis Hobbs, rookie linebacker Bo Ruud was also removed from the PUP list. That leaves the Patriots with just five players on the list: defensive end Jarvis Green, defensive lineman Mike Wright, linebacker Mike Vrabel, offensive lineman Oliver Ross, and right guard Stephen Neal. Missing from practice were cornerback Jason Webster, safety James Sanders, running back Kyle Eckel, tackle Ryan O'Callaghan, Light, and tight end David Thomas . . . Rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo had a good day, breaking up a pass intended for Benjamin Watson in the end zone and blowing up Laurence Maroney in a hole on a goal line drill . . . Rookie linebacker Shawn Crable and tight end Stephen Spach had a small scuffle. No punches were thrown . . . At one point, coach Bill Belichick created a situation in which the team had to get into field goal range in 45 seconds with no timeouts . . . Today's practice, scheduled for 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. will be open to the public.

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