Sauerbrun out, Ernster in

The Denver Broncos have released punter Todd Sauerbrun. Sauerbrun's four game suspension for use of ephedra was done after the Ravens game on Monday night. Paul Ernster has handled the punting and kickoff chores during Sauerbrun's absence and his performance secured his spot on the squad in place of the veteran.

The Broncos opted to not go with three kicking specialists.

The club released the 12-year veteran punter Tuesday, opting to go with two-year veteran Paul Ernster to handle the punting and kickoff duties.

Ernster performed well during Sauerbrun's absence, particularly during Monday night's game. Against the Ravens he kept dangerous returner B.J. Sams from getting any big plays.

Prior to the decision, Ernster felt he had done enough to keep his job.

"Hopefully I've done a good enough job to put some questions in their mind as to whether or not they should bring Todd back," Ernster said.

Sauerbrun was obtained by the Broncos with a trade to Carolina and played well during the 2005 season.

Ephedra, the banned substance which was detected during a routine test, is primarily a weight control drug. When Sauerbrun tested positive, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan expressed his disappointment and it was not a surprise that the veteran was released in favor of the second year player who was drafted by Denver in 2004.

The suspension was upheld by the league after Sauerbrun appealed the decision, claiming the test was an isolated instance.

"We're disappointed," Sauerbrun's agent David Canter said. "Just disappointed."

In view of Sauerbrun's ability, he'll undoubtedly land with another team, but Paul Ernster will be the Broncos' guy the rest of the season.



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