Doctor stands accused of prescribing steroids

Updated: August 13, 2005, 1:29 AM ET news services

Four more NFL players were tied to Dr. James Shortt, the physician who has been accused of prescribing steroids to patients, in an HBO report on "Costas Now."

The report, which aired Friday, named former Carolina Panthers tight end Wesley Walls and three other former NFL players as patients of Shortt.

The report did not say whether Walls obtained NFL-banned substances from Shortt. Walls declined to be interviewed by HBO and did not return calls from the Charlotte Observer seeking comment.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney declined comment out of respect for ongoing local, state, federal and NFL investigations.

In the report, Shortt said that he does not believe that steroids enhance performance. He said he provided steroids to about half of the one- to two-dozen NFL players he treated, and that most of the players received human growth hormone.

Among the other players named in the story, reported by Armen Keteyian, were ex-Panthers defensive end John Milem, former Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Henry Taylor and former New York Jets San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins guard Dave Fiore.

Milem, the only player named to be interviewed for the program, said he received HGH and supplements from Shortt. Taylor said he received HGH from Shortt, but in retrospect said he showed poor judgement. Arthur Weiss, an agent for Fiore, was quoted as saying Shortt saw Fiore twice for joint injuries, but did not receive any banned substances. Five Panthers players have already been identified as patients of Shortt, according to the report, and three -- center Jeff Mitchell, punter Todd Sauerbrun and tackle Todd Steussie -- were all named in a CBS report as having obtained the prescriptions from Shortt for NFL-banned steroids. Mitchell is the only one still with the team.

Milem declined comment when reached by the Observer. He was with the Panthers for parts of the 2001 and 2002 teams.

The Observer reported in July that, according to two sources close to the situation, former Panthers guard Kevin Donnalley obtained the banned steroid testosterone from Shortt. Former Carolina receiver Nathan Black told the paper in May that he was a patient of Shortt briefly, but did not obtain steroids from the doctor.

According to the paper, Shortt said in March that he had prescribed steroids in low doses to patients when medically necessary for healing and repair -- and not to athletes for performance enhancement.

Shortt is under investigation by the DEA and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division for possible illegal steroids distribution.