At the Panthers mini-camp, there was one noticeable absence on the practice field. While the other members of the team went through their drills, Todd Sauerbrun, the 6'2" punter with the build of a strong safety, was not there. As a matter of fact, the team didn't even ask Todd to show up for the practice sessions. While Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney was quoted as saying, "We know what Todd can do and we want to look at the guys we have here. We told Todd it is not necessary for him to come to camp." , all indications is that the often troubled punter will either be traded for a draft pick or released during the June 1 team cuts.
Considered both a favorite and a source of contention among many fans, the former second round draft pick by the Chicago Bears has seen his share of controversy since coming to Carolina in 2001. According to police records, on December 16th of last year, Todd had just gotten through socializing at Tavern on the Tracks, a local bar located just outside of downtown Charlotte, when he was pulled for doing 64 in a 35 mph zone. Once the police questioned Sauerbrun if he had been drinking, he responded that he had consumed eight beers with dinner. Todd was charged with both driving while under the influence and speeding and driving while having a revoked license.
Let us also not forget the incident last season when kicker John Kasey when down with an injury. The Panthers approached Todd about possibly filling in for the ailing kicker until he could return. Todd refused to kick unless the Panthers refunded Todd the $50,000 in fines he had occurred in a contract breach for being out of shape. This, on top of his ongoing feud with the Gramatica brothers, didn't win the favor of too many in the Panthers front office.
Most recently, Todd's name has been associated with a South Carolina doctor who has been accused of distributing illegal steroids to players. Todd denied ever knowing the doctor after he initially said that "he liked the guy very much," to a CBS reporter doing a piece on the doctor. At this stage, no formal charges have been filed against Todd by the league but the Panthers apparently are tired of the drama surrounding the punter.
Todd is an excellent punter. He's a linebacker trapped in a punter's position. He very well may be one of the best punters of all time in the NFL. But let's try to keep thing realistic. He's a punter. He's not the guy who's going to make the game winning catch or the guy who's going to make the game saving tackle. He serves a role to help the Panthers on special teams. There is energy that can be best spent on more impact positions. Despite his upside, the attitude and the off-field actions may not make this football player very special at all.
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