By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Over the past two decades, the Patriots have been by far the most successful franchise in the NFL. With that success has come plenty of criticism and controversy, to the point where no story or plot twist is ever truly surprising.
This one, though? This is a new one.
Smack dab in the middle of the report/opinion/report about Nick Caserio "wanting out" of New England, Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal reported that people within the Patriots organization are "livid" and "pissed off" at former character coach Jack Easterby.
Easterby -- who also served as the team chaplain -- left the Patriots after the Super Bowl this year, when his contract reportedly expired. Sources said that the ongoing Robert Kraft situation in Florida did not "sit well" with Easterby. About a month after leaving New England, Easterby signed on to be the vice president of player development for the Houston Texans. Since then, he's rapidly risen the ranks in the Houston organization:
Bedard's story noted that the Patriots' issue with Easterby is "personal," with "many feeling Easterby is a bit of an opportunist with an agenda."
Given all of the knowledge obtained by Easterby in working with Patriots players over the past six years, the fact that he left to join a rival AFC team does not "sit well" with the Patriots.
Additionally, the timeline of events -- the Patriots' ring ceremony at Kraft's house on a Thursday (with Easterby in attendance), the Texans firing their GM the next day, with a request to interview Nick Caserio coming shortly thereafter -- appears to not be seen as a coincidence in Foxboro.
"The Krafts can tolerate a lot of things, but if you leave for a competitor with state secrets, take issue with some of their personal actions … don't disrespect their family home by trying to poach someone else on your way out the door," Bedard wrote.
It's all a bit hilarious -- not only the fact that a Godfather-esque plot line has developed, but that it involves ... the former team chaplain/character coach ... who is now climbing the ranks to take on general managing duties for a legitimate AFC contender ... playing the role of Fredo Corleone.
Even in a world where bizarre stories tend to originate out of 1 Patriot Place, this one treads on entirely new ground.
In any event, as Bedard noted, the Patriots play the Texans in Houston in a Sunday night game in Week 13. Apparently, we'll all be talking about a grudge match between the defending-champion Patriots and ... their former character coach/chaplain.
As the old saying goes, you can't predict baseball, and you can't predict Patriots off-field melodrama.
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