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NFL probes report ID'ing Sauerbrun, Mitchell, Steussie

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers Todd Sauerbrun and Jeff Mitchell and former player Todd Steussie had steroid prescriptions
filled by a West Columbia, S.C., doctor now under investigation by
federal authorities, according to a "60 Minutes Wednesday" report.

In a release Tuesday, the CBS News show said the players all had
prescriptions for testosterone cream filled within two weeks of the
Panthers' appearance in the 2004 Super Bowl.

In addition to the cream, which is banned by the NFL, Sauerbrun
-- one of the league's top punters -- also obtained syringes and the
injectable steroid Stanozolol, which is also banned by the league.

The prescriptions were reportedly written by Dr. James Shortt,
who is the subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration probe for
allegedly prescribing steroids and other performance-enhancing
drugs.

Mitchell, a center, filled a testosterone prescription seven
times, while Steussie, an offensive lineman now with the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers, obtained 11 refills over an eight-month period in 2004,
CBS reported.

"We've heard rumors and speculation about what was going to be
in the CBS report, but this is the first time we've heard the
specific allegations," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said.
"Obviously, any time there is a possible connection with alleged
actions that violate NFL rules, it concerns us greatly.

"We are dealing with allegations right now and we will continue
to cooperate with the NFL and law enforcement in this matter."


NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPN's Chris Mortensen the league was monitoring developments and conducting its own independent investigation into the "60 Minutes Wednesday" report.

The Panthers have been cooperating with a federal subpoena that
sought contact information for several players as part of the probe
of Shortt.

Hurney has stressed that none of the team's players have tested
positive for steroids.

According to a report last month in The State, of Columbia, S.C., Shortt has been under investigation since last May.

In September, authorities raided Shortt's Health Dimensions
office and Congaree Pharmacy near the Columbia Metropolitan
Airport. State and federal agents seized computer data, at least 21
boxes of patient and medical records and 256 audio cassettes, the
paper reported.

The "60 Minutes Wednesday" report also includes an interview
with a former employee of Shortt, Mignon Simpson, who says she
personally shipped human growth hormone to NFL players and that
possibly a half-dozen players received hGH from Shortt.

There is no reliable test for hGH.

CBS said Mitchell and Steussie did not respond to repeated calls
and letters seeking comment. The network said that when it
contacted Sauerbrun by phone, and asked him about Shortt, the
punter said, "I like the guy very much."

Ten minutes later, CBS said, Sauerbrun called back to say he had
been confused and that he did not know Shortt.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.