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Report: Panthers players part of steroid probe

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 14, 2005) -- Investigators probing an alternative medicine doctor want to speak to at least nine current or former members of the Carolina Panthers about possible illegal steroid prescriptions, a Columbia newspaper reported.

Dr. James Shortt, a West Columbia physician, is under investigation for allegedly prescribing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, The State said in editions on March 13. The newspaper based its story on court records and sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

Federal agents subpoenaed the Panthers for the addresses and contact information of several players as part of the probe.

"We've known about the investigation into Dr. Shortt for a short period of time and we are still trying to retrieve enough information to comment on it," Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said. "We certainly are not aware of any of our players testing positive for steroids."

Sources familiar with the investigation told the newspaper that some of the players were on the Panthers team that competed in the 2004 Super Bowl. Neither the paper nor Hurney revealed the identities of the players.

The newspaper said a sworn statement from Dave Lawrence, a State Law Enforcement Division agent, said Shortt has been under investigation since May 2004 when a Columbia bodybuilder told the Drug Enforcement Administration that Shortt had a reputation for readily prescribing steroids for patients in exchange for $1,000.

Four months later, 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, search documents obtained by The State show.

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