- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

It was no surprise when punter Todd Sauerbrun was named this week as one of three Carolina Panthers who purportedly received prescriptions for steroids.

Sauerbrun’s chest-thumping style has long irked opponents and once led to him going jaw-to-jaw with Washington Redskins punt returner/yapper Brian Mitchell. He also heaped abuse upon Bill Gramatica for being a foreigner when the Panthers were considering signing the Argentine kicker last season.

Sauerbrun, the NFC’s top punter the last four years and fifth all-time with a 44-yard average, believes he should be the first pure punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has trashed former Oakland Raider Ray Guy, the favorite of many for that honor.

The steroids story isn’t Sauerbrun’s first off-field headache. When the Panthers visited the Redskins last August, Sauerbrun was welcomed to FedEx Field by a process server with a not-so-subtle reminder from a Maryland court that he owed his former agent, Tony Agnone, more than $50,000. A North Carolina court also has ruled Sauerbrun owes a BMW dealer in Greensboro more than $30,000 for unpaid fees on a lease agreement for a car that later was repossessed. Sauerbrun has declined comment on these matters.

Agnone represented Sauerbrun from 1995 until 1998 and was supposed to receive a 3 percent fee for agent duties and a 2 percent fee for financial planning and tax preparation. According to an arbitrator’s report, Sauerbrun paid only a portion of his fees for 1995 and did not make subsequent payments. Sauerbrun, who is due to make $1.7million in 2005, told the arbitrator he was in a financial bind and that Agnone did him a favor by postponing payments.

Gay pride — When Leigh Clemons, Randall Gay’s former professor at Louisiana State, tried to order a New England Patriots jersey from NFLshop.com, the request was rejected. The Web site’s reply message said, “This field should not contain a naughty word.”

Clemons was stunned by what she termed the NFL’s homophobia.

“When the message came up, I just sat and stared at it for 30 seconds with my mouth open,” she said.

Clemons said it took phone conversations with three NFLshop.com employees before she finally received the jersey. The course Clemons taught Gay, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, covered homosexuality and gay awareness.

Since the incident, anyone can buy Gay’s jersey online.

Another Gibbs steps back — Offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, the driving force behind Atlanta’s league-leading ground game in 2004 and a key element of Denver’s two Super Bowl champions in the 1990s, cited burnout for his decision to become a part-time coach/consultant this season after just one year with the Falcons.

Gibbs, 63, will be on hand this spring and summer, but during the season, he’ll have a consulting role similar to that of his final three years in Denver (2001 to 2003), when he lived in Phoenix and spent Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays with the Broncos.

“I was in a state of exhaustion, a state of depression,” said Gibbs, who often would come to work at 4a.m. “I was so mad at me and everybody else. I was that disoriented. I burned myself to a frazzle.”

Not like father, like son — Stanley Wilson, the son of the infamous running back with the same name, is expected to be taken in the early rounds of this month’s draft. The younger Wilson, who was just 5 when his father had a cocaine relapse the night before Super Bowl XXIII, was a cornerback at Stanford.

“I’m happy to represent my dad,” the younger Wilson said. “A lot of people who might have a path like I do could have fallen by the wayside. I’m here. It shows he’s a great dad.”

Wilson said they remain close even though his father is serving 22 years in a California state prison for stealing about $130,000 worth of property in 1999 to feed his drug habit.

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