Sauerbrun pleads guilty to disturbing the peace
DENVER -- Former Denver Broncos punter Todd Sauerbrun pleaded guilty Wednesday to disturbing the peace in a confrontation with a taxi driver last December and was sentenced to perform 24 hours of community service.
But outside the courtroom, Sauerbrun insisted he is innocent and said he accepted a plea deal with prosecutors only because his record could be cleansed after a year.
He also took a swipe at the Broncos for cutting him after his arrest, saying, "I don't think they did me right."
County Court Judge Andre L. Rudolph ordered Sauerbrun to perform the community service through NFL Charities by Oct. 1. He also sentenced Sauerbrun to a year's unsupervised deferred judgment, meaning if he stays out of trouble for a year the charge will be wiped from his record.
An assault charge was dismissed as was a charge of failing to pay the cab fare as part of the deal, his lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, told The Associated Press. A jury trial had been set for Wednesday.
"They made us an offer we couldn't refuse," Steinberg said. "We talked about a jury trial lasting two to three days. This saves everybody the time and trouble."
Sauerbrun, who also had to pay $216 in court costs, could have faced one year in jail and up to a $999 fine on the disturbance charge.
Outside the courtroom, Sauerbrun maintained he was innocent and said he only pleaded guilty to the disturbance charge so that he could have it eventually erased from his record.
"I hit the 'easy button' today," Sauerbrun said. "It (stinks). I'm disgusted about it. But in a year, it will be completely off my record."
Sauerbrun, who is living in Chicago, said he thinks he'll land with another NFL team now that this matter has been cleared up. The 35-year-old three-time Pro Bowler said he thinks he can play another five years in the NFL.
Sauerbrun remains bitter over his dismissal from the Broncos shortly after he was cited and taken to a detox facility after an argument outside a Denver restaurant on Dec. 7.
Sauerbrun said he's hurt that coach Mike Shanahan portrayed him as a bad apple and jettisoned him so quickly after his arrest even though the coach had spent much of last season defending troubled tailback Travis Henry over a failed drug test.
"The Broncos didn't give me a fair shot. I don't think they did me right," Sauerbrun said. "I do feel ill about it. And their new motto about character guys? The guys I've seen them pick up, you're going to tell me those are good character people? I think not."
The Broncos this week agreed to a one-year deal with veteran running back Michael Pittman, who has been involved in several domestic disputes during his NFL career.
Despite his guilty plea, Sauerbrun maintained he did nothing wrong on the night he was arrested and said he plans to sue the taxi driver for defamation.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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