Report: Doctor advised Panthers how to beat tests

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The doctor accused of writing illegal
steroid prescriptions for three former Carolina Panthers advised
the players how to take the drugs without failing league tests, The
State reported Friday.
A judge heard tape-recorded conversations Thursday between Dr.
James Shortt and the three players, in which Shortt details how he
could help them avoid being detected for performance-enhancing
drugs, the newspaper reported.
Shortt has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against
him, which include distributing steroids and human growth hormones.
In a consultation with former Panthers punter Todd Sauerbrun,
now with the Denver Broncos, on June 24, 2003, Shortt said, "You
came to me ... wanting some performance enhancement. We can do that
-- legal performance enhancement -- because you're drug tested in
your profession."
U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson also heard a tape of a
consultation with former tight end Wesley Walls on Feb. 18, 2003.
"Now here's the key," Shortt said. "You want to use a natural
testosterone. You do not want to use testosterone or any kind of
Depo [testosterone injection] because that's how they test you.
They look for the Depo.
"For somebody like you, I can triple your testosterone levels
without blowing any whistles."
The third tape included conversations with center Jeff Mitchell.
A CBS News report in March identified Mitchell, Sauerbrun and
tackle Todd Steussie as having filled steroid prescriptions written
by Shortt. In addition to Walls, former Panther Kevin Donnalley
also has been named in media reports as a patient of Shortt.
Prosecutors said the three tapes, along with 16 others, were
seized under a search warrant for Shortt's office, The State
An attorney representing Sauerbrun cautioned against reading too
much into the tapes.
"It was a consultation," attorney Jim Griffin told the
newspaper. "It shows that Todd was seeking the advice of a medical
doctor, and that's all it shows."
The hearing Thursday was held to determine whether an HBO
television special in could be entered as evidence during Shortt's
trial, which is set for March. Prosecutors said they played the
tapes to show conflicts between what Shortt said in the television
special and what he told patients.