by Scott Benson

The Boston Globe is reporting in its Wednesday editions that Patriots starting right offensive tackle Nick Kaczur has turned federal informant in a drug sting after being arrested with the prescription painkiller Oxycontin in late April.

Globe reporters John R. Ellement and Shelley Murphy have the sorry details.

Kaczur, in the best season of his three year career, started 15 games for the AFC champs last fall. According to the Globe, he has since told investigators that he began purchasing the pills in November, as the Patriots moved towards the playoffs and their now infamous Super Bowl loss.

Earlier this week, the Patriots signed right tackle Oliver Ross, veteran of 53 NFL starts, to a free agent deal. It would be hard to believe that signing is unrelated to this morning’s news.  

Kaczur is the third Patriots player to run afoul of the law for drug possession since the New York Giants upset the undefeated Pats in early February. Safety Willie Andrews and veteran runner Kevin Faulk were detained for marijuana possession before the end of that month, though Faulk denied the pot was his and later passed a drug test that helped him avoid the NFL’s substance abuse program. Lest we forget, the season began with the suspension of veteran Rodney Harrison after he was collared for purchasing performance enhancing drugs by mail.

Ignoring an ESPN-fueled, made-for-television cluster-controversy may well be adviseable, even necessary, for Patriots fans, but denying or diminishing these events are not. Surely these players are human beings as well, subject to the same foibles as us all. Surely each one must be viewed as an individual first, accountable for their own actions.

But for the third time in four months, the New England Patriots have had a player arrested for drugs.

We can’t ignore that.