As Paul Ernster returned to the Broncos and Matt Prater got his first kicking work in Wednesday, increasing the Broncos’ complement of kicking specialists to a trio, one question lingered — a query that would be rapidly answered at Head Coach Mike Shanahan’s press conference:
What was the reason for Todd Sauerbrun’s release?
Was it because of matters away from Dove Valley or his performance on the field, with his struggles in getting kickoffs inside the Houston 10-yard-line at Reliant Stadium six days earlier?
According to Shanahan, the decision was entirely because of what happened on Dec. 7 as he was arrested for simple assault on a taxicab driver, and not because of anything on the field.
“I told Todd if he had any problems that he was going to be released,” Shanahan said Wednesday in the opening moments of his press conference. “I wasn’t really going to share that with you, but I decided to after he came out and made a couple of comments yesterday.
“The bottom line was the way that he treated the police officers. Not to get into the situation that happened with the taxicab driver, but the way he talked with the officers and the way he handled that situation was very unprofessional.”
That understandably rankled Shanahan, particularly given the efforts of the Denver Police Department in the previous 11 and a half months in pursuing all leads in the search for those responsible for the murder of Darrent Williams.
“The police officers here in Denver have done an unbelievable job for us, working with the Darrent Williams case and they’ve just been very good,” Shanahan said. “For (Sauerbrun) to handle himself that way in that situation was uncalled for and that’s why he’s not with us.”
ON THE FIELD: Linebacker Ian Gold and tight end Daniel Graham remained sidelined with their injuries as the Broncos reconvened for a full practice Wednesday. Gold has a knee injury, while Graham suffered a high ankle sprain six days earlier in the defeat at Houston. Both were on the field with their teammates.
Wide receiver Brandon Stokley was back in uniform but was limited Wednesday as he continues to recover from the knee strain that kept him sidelined at Houston. Defensive end John Engelberger (shoulder), center Chris Myers (ankle) and wide receiver Javon Walker (knee) were also listed on the injury report but practiced fully.
“I’m finally happy to be to the point where (the knee) is getting healthy,” Walker said. “It’s getting strong. I can approach the offseason ready to have goals for what I want to do for next year.”