Broncos punter cited for assault
December 10, 2007
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ” Broncos punter Todd Sauerbrun faces an assault charge for an incident outside a restaurant, a case that could bring more discipline from the NFL.
Sauerbrun, the fourth-leading punter in the NFL, was suspended for the first month of last season after using a banned dietary supplement. Upon his reinstatement, the Broncos and Sauerbrun split ways and he signed with New England.
Sauerbrun returned to Denver on a one-year, $1.4 million contract after being granted his release from the Patriots in the spring, and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan admonished him upon his return: “Just stay clean, just stay out of trouble.”
Denver police said Sauerbrun was cited for simple assault early Saturday.
“He was cited for a municipal ordinance violation of simple assault that stemmed from an altercation with a cab driver,” Detective John White, a police spokesman, told The Associated Press. “So Sauerbrun was not arrested, but he was transported to a local detox facility.”
White said he didn’t have the name of the cab company or the driver.
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“I don’t have a whole lot of the specifics because it was written on a city citation,” White said. “It’s alleged that it became physical at some point because of him being cited for simple assault.”
Sauerbrun will have to appear in Denver County Court, but White said he didn’t know the date.
Last year, Sauerbrun lost his job to Paul Ernster while serving his suspension for using ephedra in a misguided attempt to lose weight and gain gusto for his workouts. He rejoined the Broncos on April 20 and pledged to repay Shanahan for giving him another chance, much as Denver’s coach did in 2005 after Carolina gave up on him following a series of on- and off-field distractions, including a drunken driving arrest.
“If he’s guilty, he’s going to have to pay the price,” Shanahan said.
He declined to say whether that would mean another ticket out of Denver for Sauerbrun.
“Let’s not talk about the ifs. Let’s kind of wait and let the due process take care of itself and we’ll talk about it then,” Shanahan said.
Given his previous run-ins, Sauerbrun could face more discipline from the league under commissioner Roger Goodell’s get-tough policy on player misbehavior.
Sauerbrun attended the Broncos’ special teams workout Monday in preparation for the Broncos’ game at Houston on Thursday night, but he wasn’t around afterward when reporters had 45 minutes of locker room access.
This is the third alcohol-related arrest of a Broncos player this year.
Receiver David Kircus, who was waived this summer, was charged with second-degree assault after a fight last spring landed a 26-year-old man in the hospital with facial fractures.
On Thursday, Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall is scheduled to appear in a Denver County Court to enter a plea on a drunken driving charge stemming from an October traffic stop, although he might be able to have his lawyer present on his behalf so he can fly to Texas on the team charter late Wednesday.
“We address all those types of things in our organization and like I said, let’s let it take care of itself. We’ve already been through one before, we had the guy hung up on the wall, so let’s wait first,” Shanahan said, referring to running back Travis Henry, who successfully challenged a one-year ban for a positive marijuana test.
Even though Henry won his appeal this month, the league fined Shanahan $25,000 for “inappropriate public comments about the substance abuse program in violation of league rules.”
Shanahan had defended his troubled running back, saying he was convinced of his innocence after the player passed a polygraph test and a hair follicle tested negative for marijuana.
Shanahan suggested Monday that he wouldn’t be appealing the fine to the commissioner’s office. He relayed a story line from an old Andy Griffith episode where the sheriff pulled over a motorist for speeding and then served as the judge to overrule the man’s argument that the citation was unjust.
“I’m just saying the odds aren’t very good,” Shanahan said.
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