ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -Broncos punter Todd Sauerbrun proclaimed his innocence Wednesday and expressed frustration over an assault charge stemming from an altercation with a taxi driver outside a restaurant last weekend.
``It's a false allegation and the truth will come out,'' Sauerbrun said. ``It's a completely overblown issue.''
Sauerbrun said he's flustered because this latest run-in paints him in a bad light with the public and the league - which suspended him last year - and might also impact his future in Denver, where coach Mike Shanahan gave him a second chance this season after he fell out of favor and was released last season.
Denver police said Sauerbrun was cited for simple assault early Saturday. Witnesses said he struck a cab driver who kicked him out of his taxi for belligerent behavior.
``I was trying to do the responsible thing'' in taking a cab after having some drinks at dinner, said Sauerbrun, who was taken to a detox facility but not arrested. ``I didn't have my license on me. I was taking a cab everywhere. I can't drive without my license.''
Sauerbrun said he's confident he'll be exonerated but that the case nevertheless weighs heavily on him because of the possible ramifications, including league discipline and the public perception he's a bad apple.
``Yeah, it does bother me. Well, the (biggest) thing that bothers me is what you guys are writing. Well, not you and you,'' he told two reporters from The Associated Press and the Colorado Springs Gazette. ``But you know, everything that's being written, it's hurtful. It really is.''
Wednesday marked the first time Sauerbrun had been in the locker room during reporters' access time since his arrest.
Sauerbrun said he's hopeful that Shanahan will support him just as he defended running back Travis Henry, who recently won his appeal of a one-year suspension for a failed drug test. Shanahan even got fined $25,000 by commissioner Roger Goodell for his comments about the case.
Shanahan said Sauerbrun will pay the price if found guilty but should be afforded due process before any speculation is made about his future in Denver.
A free agent after this season, Sauerbrun said he trusts he'll clear his name and won't get a ticket out of town again.
He was suspended for the first month of last season after using a banned dietary supplement. Upon his reinstatement, the Broncos and Sauerbrun split ways and he signed with New England. After winning his release from the Patriots, Sauerbrun returned to Denver in April and signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract.
He 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.

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