Schon: Sauerbrun's Shaky Start

No sooner had the ink dried on the deal for Carolina Panther's punter Todd Sauerbrun, than the former Pro Bowler stood before a Carolina judge pleading guilty to Driving Under the Influence.

The Denver Broncos filled a much needed vacancy when they acquired two-time Pro Bowl punter Todd Sauerbrun, unfortunately he arrived with some baggage the Broncos have generally tried to avoid from their players.

Monday the former Carolina Panthers punter pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was placed on a year's unsupervised probation and fined $100, his attorney said.

The incident occurred when Sauerbrun was arrested in December near downtown Charlotte, and charged with Driving Under the Influence as well as speeding and driving while his license was revoked.

Sauerbrun, who led the NFC in punting in 2001, 2002 and 2003, plea-bargained the other charges dropped and was placed on one year's unsupervised probation and fined $100 for the DUI.

Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Todd Owens also ordered Sauerbrun not to drive in North Carolina for 30 days.

"He has accepted complete responsibility for his conduct by entering his plea today," Defense attorney James Wyatt told reporters.

No stranger to off the field problems, Sauerbrun hit the spotlight with a verbal war with ferllow punters Martin and Bill Gramatica and a "60 Minutes Wednesday" report showing that he and former Panthers teammates Jeff Mitchell and Todd Steussie had steroid prescriptions filled by a doctor in South Carolina.

David Canter, Sauerbrun's agent, said that language would be added the contract to protect the Broncos if Sauerbrun got in any more trouble off the field.

Mike Shanahan, who met privately with Sauerbrun prior to the signing, appeared comfortable yet reserved.

"With the conversations I have had with him, I felt good about those conversations, about the way we run our organization, what we expect, how we handle ourselves," Shanahan said. "Hopefully it works out."



Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net

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