|Sauerbrun promises to make most of second chance|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 20 April 2007 12:54|
``I want to make amends,'' Sauerbrun said Friday after signing a one-year, $1.4 million contract Friday to return to the team that jettisoned him last October.
The 13-year veteran, whose use of a banned dietary supplement cost him a four-game suspension and his job, had a long talk with coach Mike Shanahan upon his return.
Shanahan told him: ``Just stay clean, just stay out of trouble,'' Sauerbrun said.
``I'd done it for a while,'' said Sauerbrun, who punted for the New England Patriots in the playoffs last season. ``He has faith in me. I don't want to let him down. I don't want to let the team down. To hell with myself. I don't want to let the guys down.''
Sauerbrun's deal with Denver was worth more than the $1.395 million he was scheduled to make with the Broncos last year, when he lost his job to Paul Ernster while serving his suspension for using ephedra in a misguided attempt to lose weight and gain gusto for his workouts.
``Just immature, stupid, it was dumb,'' Sauerbrun said. ``You learn. If you don't learn from this you don't have many opportunities to learn from. You either learn or you're going to be done. It's simple.''
Coming off a great 2005 season in Denver, Sauerbrun, who also kicks off, said he knowingly took an over-the-counter weight loss product last summer that he strongly suspected contained ephedra. The substance was banned by the NFL after the death of Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer during training camp in 2001.
Players are randomly tested and can be suspended after the first violation.
That drew the ire of Shanahan, who said at the time that the punter is the only player on the team who can be fat as far as he was concerned.
Sauerbrun, who packs 215 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame, was fined when he played for Carolina Panthers, for eating too much. He said then that he forever frets about his weight.
Looking muscular and in better shape than at this point last year, Sauerbrun said Friday he never really believed deep down that he'd get the chance to make up for his mistake.
He agreed to a one-year deal with the Broncos earlier this month, but the Patriots matched it through a clause in the contract he signed with New England with two weeks left in the 2006 regular season.
With the help of the NFL Players Association, Sauerbrun contended that the clause was inappropriate because it was not written separately from the contract itself, a requirement for right-to-match deals. A special master in Boston ruled Wednesday that the Patriots erred, thus freeing Sauerbrun.
``We found a glitch in the contract and I was fortunate,'' Sauerbrun said. ``My situation just wasn't well over there. They had a bunch of punters on the roster. It just wasn't a good business move for me to be there.''
Sauerbrun pledged to repay Shanahan for giving him another chance, much as Denver's coach did in 2005 after Carolina gave up on him following a series of on- and off-field distractions, including a drunken driving arrest.
Fueling Sauerbrun's desire to return to Denver was the offseason hiring of special teams coach Scott O'Brien, under whom Sauerbrun flourished in Carolina from 2001-04, making the Pro Bowl three straight times.
``And especially now with Scott O'Brien, it could not have been a better situation for me personally, physically, mentally,'' Sauerbrun said. ``I had all my success in Carolina.''
When O'Brien was hired by the Broncos, ``that was the first thing that came to my head,'' Sauerbrun said. ``What better situation would it be? It's a dream job for me. I said to myself, there's no way. It's too good for me. With the way my luck has been going for me it ain't going to happen. Look at the way I screwed up.
``I've got a second opportunity. I'm going to make the most of it.''