Sauerbrun deal done

The Denver Broncos have acquired three-time Pro Bowl punter Todd Sauerbrun in a trade with the Carolina Panthers. In exchange, the Broncos send punter Jason Baker and their seventh-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft to Carolina.

Sauerbrun, 5-10, 215 pounds, enters his 11th NFL season as one of the top paid punters in the league. He is scheduled to make $1.2 million this season, $1,295,000 in 2006 and $1.4 million in 2007, but wants to restructure his contract for up-front money. He also has some off field problems, including allegedly receiving banned steroids and a charge of driving while impaired. If he is found to have used the steroids, he could face a four game suspension.

He and spent the last four years (2001-04) with Carolina after playing for Kansas City (2000) and Chicago (1995-99). The only player since the NFL merger in 1970 to lead his conference in gross punting average for three consecutive seasons (2001-03), Sauerbrun owns a 44.0-yard career gross average and a 35.9 net average. He has played 146 career regular-season games, punting 760 times for 33,443 yards while placing 224 punts inside the 20-yard line and kicking off 306 times for 19,557 yards (63.8 avg.) with 39 touchbacks.

In 2004, Sauerbrun ranked second in the NFC (4th in NFL) with a 44.1-yard gross punting average and boasted a 37.5 net punting average for the third-highest mark in the NFC (5th in NFL). He appeared in all 16 games for Carolina, punting 76 times for 3,351 yards while placing 25 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Sauerbrun, who owns at least one punt of 60 or more yards in each of his 10 seasons, was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2001-03. His 9,154 punting yards and 46.5-yard gross average posted from 2001-02 rank as the third and fourth best consecutive-year totals, respectively, in NFL history. He became the first punter in 15 years to lead the league in punts and gross punting average in the same year (2002), and his gross punting average of 47.5 yards in 2001 was the highest in the NFL since 1963.

Sauerbrun, 32, is the Panthers' all-time leader in punts, gross punting average and punts inside the 20. Selected by Chicago in the second round (56th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft, he ranks second in Bears history with a 42.2-yard career gross punting average during his five seasons with the team. In his only year with Kansas City during the 2000 campaign, Sauerbrun posted nine special-teams tackles to mark the highest total for a Chiefs punter or kicker since the team began tracking that statistic in 1982.

Sauerbrun ended his four-year career at West Virginia University as the NCAA's all-time leader in career gross punting average (46.3 yds.) and was a three-time first-team All-Big East Conference selection. Born Jan. 4, 1973, Todd Scott Sauerbrun punted and kicked at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y., and also was regarded as one of the top prep lacrosse players in the state.

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