New England Patriots' Off-Field Issues Cause Concern for 2008

Chris WilsonContributor IJune 4, 2008

Nothing has been going right for the Patriots since losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII; their only and most painful loss of the season. Since then, the Patriots just can't avoid the headlines.

Arguably, the biggest move thus far in the offseason was the Philadelphia Eagles' signing of Asante Samuel to a six-year, $57 million contract. That, coupled with an aging defense, doesn't bode well for the defending AFC Champions.

But that doesn't even match the biggest headline of the offseason for the Patriots: Spygate. Becoming hot topic news in Week Two of the NFL regular season, Spygate brought accusations, investigations, and the stiffest fines imposed on a NFL team to date.

The NFL fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000, and they took away a first-round draft pick for violating the league's rules on videotaping on the sidelines during games. Now that Spygate has finally started to fizzle out, more problems have arisen for New England.

Offensive tackle Nick Kaczur was arrested in April for illegally purchasing the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Kaczur, who started 15 games for the Patriots last season, did make the news softer by cooperating with DEA agents to help build a case against the alleged supplier, Daniel Ekasala.

This, paired with running back Kevin Faulk being cited for possession of marijuana, and defensive back Willie Andrews being arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving an unregistered motor vehicle, just ices the cake for the Patriot's off and onfield issues. 

The biggest fear now is if these problems will affect New England's level of play this upcoming season like it did the Cincinnati Bengals through the 2006 and 2007 seasons.