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Patriots taking wait-and-see approach with Kaczur

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / June 5, 2008

The Patriots made no snap judgments on the football future of offensive lineman Nick Kaczur following yesterday's Globe report that Kaczur was arrested in April on a charge of illegal possession of prescription painkillers, and then worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration in a sting operation to indict his alleged drug supplier.

Kaczur was at Gillette Stadium yesterday, according to a team employee who saw him as Patriots players and coaches continue to work in the offseason program.

According to DEA documents read by Bernard Grossberg, the attorney representing Kaczur's alleged supplier, Kaczur said he started purchasing OxyContin in November 2007, ordering 100 pills every few days.

Misusing prescription drugs is considered a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy and could lead to a league-issued suspension. The punishment for offenders is based on past transgressions.

As alleged dealer appears in court, his lawyer raises questions about Kaczur's deal. B1

First-time offenders enter stage one of a rehabilitation program, where the focus is on evaluation over a period that could be as short as 90 days or as long as six months. There are no suspensions for entering stage one of the program, only the possibility of fines.

Players in stage one can be given a treatment plan, and if they don't follow it, they would be advanced to stage two for up to 24 months (or two seasons).

Players in stage two who fail a test, or are deemed to not be following their treatment plan, are initially subject to fines. A second failed test, or a second incident that shows a lack of following the treatment plan, results in a four-game suspension and elimination from the Pro Bowl if selected.

At that point, a player would advance to stage three and remain there his entire career. Any player in stage three who fails to comply with the program is banished from the NFL for a minimum of one year.

Players in the program are drug-tested regularly, possibly up to 10 times per month.

The NFL keeps the names of players in the substance abuse program confidential, so it is not known in what stage, if any, the 28-year-old Kaczur might be.

One former Patriots player said he was surprised that any past teammate would buy OxyContin because painkillers are usually available in any NFL locker room. The player had never heard of such an occurrence since entering the league in the 1990s.

The Patriots are looking to build momentum toward the offseason's lone mandatory minicamp, which runs tomorrow through Sunday. Through spokesman Stacey James, the Patriots deferred all questions regarding Kaczur to the appropriate law enforcement officials.

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