Castillo's 2005 Patriots visit overshadowed by steroids

707098.jpg

Castillo's 2005 Patriots visit overshadowed by steroids

Luis Castillo visited New England once before.

Seth Wickersham chronicled the story, called "Full Disclosure," of the defensive end's dramatic start in the NFL.

Castillo first traveled to Foxborough April 7, 2005. The Northwestern product had impressed the hell out of scouts -- from the physical to the personal -- at the NFL Combine that February. The good impressions continued in New England and after two days of interviews, Castillo was considered "smart and hardworking -- a perfect Patriot."

The next day he got a phone call from his mother. She had gotten a letter from the NFL, something about steroids.

He tested positive.

The substance was androstenedione, a steroid banned by the NFL. Castillo suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament his sophomore year and aggravated the injury as a senior. Androstenedione, he later said, was a deal with the devil, a desperate attempt to expedite his rehab before the Draft and save his future.

"It was one time. I panicked. I got scared," Castillo told his agent, Mike McCartney. "I was just trying to get back to the person I was. I wasn't trying to gain an edge, I swear."

He turned the contrition into a letter.

Castillo confessed to juicing and explained why he did it. That note, combined with clean drug tests taken at Northwestern, were sent to every GM in the league.

The Chargers selected Castillo at Number 28 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft.

It's said his San Diego teammates never bothered him about the incident. Some of his opponents, like Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, were less forgiving.

"He cheated the system and got away with it," Vrabel said.

Castillo's body has enforced the only punishment. He's played a full 16-game season just twice (2005, 2010) in his seven-year career. Last season he lost 15 games to a broken left tibia in Week 1.

Will he get a second chance now to be a "perfect Patriot"? Maybe as a classic Bill Belichick value pick. Much has changed since that first visit -- New England needs to know it's for the better.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

MORE:

“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”