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Report: Panthers filled steroid prescriptions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 30, 2005) -- Carolina Panthers Todd Sauerbrun and Jeff Mitchell and former player Todd Steussie had steroid prescriptions filled by a West Columbia, S.C., doctor now under investigation by federal authorities, according to a 60 Minutes Wednesday report.

In a release, the CBS News show said the players all had prescriptions for testosterone cream filled within two weeks of the Panthers' appearance in the 2004 Super Bowl.

In addition to the cream, which is banned by the NFL, Sauerbrun -- one of the league's top punters -- also obtained syringes and the injectable steroid Stanozolol, which is also banned by the league.

The prescriptions were reportedly written by Dr. James Shortt, who is the subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration probe for allegedly prescribing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Mitchell, a center, filled a testosterone prescription seven times, while Steussie, an offensive lineman now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, obtained 11 refills over an eight-month period in 2004, CBS reported.

"We've heard rumors and speculation about what was going to be in the CBS report, but this is the first time we've heard the specific allegations," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "Obviously, any time there is a possible connection with alleged actions that violate NFL rules, it concerns us greatly.

"We are dealing with allegations right now and we will continue to cooperate with the NFL and law enforcement in this matter."

The Panthers have been cooperating with a federal subpoena that sought contact information for several players as part of the probe of Shortt.

Hurney has stressed that none of the team's players have tested positive for steroids.

According to a report last month in The State of Columbia, Shortt has been under investigation since May.

In September, authorities raided Shortt's Health Dimensions office and Congaree Pharmacy near the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. State and federal agents seized computer data, at least 21 boxes of patient and medical records and 256 audio cassettes, the paper reported.

The 60 Minutes Wednesday report also includes an interview with a former employee of Shortt, Mignon Simpson, who says she personally shipped human growth hormone to NFL players and that possibly a half-dozen players received hGH from Shortt.

There is no reliable test for hGH.

CBS said Mitchell and Steussie did not respond to repeated calls and letters seeking comment. The network said that when it contacted Sauerbrun by phone, and asked him about Shortt, the punter said, "I like the guy very much."

Ten minutes later, CBS said, Sauerbrun called back to say he had been confused and that he did not know Shortt.

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