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Sauerbrun said to be suspended for first month of Broncos' season

• DENVER - Todd Sauerbrun ripped off his helmet and hurled it in disgust after shanking a 25-yarder at the Denver Broncos' minicamp Friday.

The paltry punt was the least of his troubles.

Sauerbrun will be suspended for the first month of the season after testing positive for the banned supplement ephedra, a person close to the player said Friday.

Sauerbrun will miss the first four regular-season games if his expected appeal is denied, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the NFL has not announced the suspension.

The 12-year veteran ducked into the Broncos' headquarters and avoided reporters by apparently taking a side door to the players' parking lot after lunch.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he wanted to wait for the appeals process to play out before addressing Sauerbrun's suspension. But he did say his players are well-versed in supplements: ''Yeah, we talk about all those things quite extensively.''

Vets monitoring Barbaro's latest surgery, abscess

• KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is being closely monitored after developing complications this week requiring more surgery and treatment of an abscess.

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center changed Barbaro's cast twice in three days, once on Monday to replace bent screws in his shattered right hind leg and a second time Wednesday because the horse seemed uncomfortable.

An abscess on the uninjured left hind leg is a ''minor problem'' being treated topically, Dr. Dean Richardson said Friday.

The horse has a supporting shoe on that leg to help protect against laminitis, an often fatal disease sometimes brought on by uneven weight distribution.

Auburn's Tolbert arrested for underage drinking

• AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn guard Frank Tolbert was arrested on underage drinking charges after Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agents broke up a party in River Falls, his hometown in Covington County.

Tolbert, 19, was charged with being a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage after his arrest at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. One of five minors arrested at the Nite Spot bar, he was released on $1,000 bond.

Northwestern hires Fitzgerald as football coach

• EVANSTON, Ill. - Pat Fitzgerald, a former All-American linebacker at Northwestern, was hired Friday as the Wildcats' coach and became the youngest head coach in Division I-A. He replaced Randy Walker, who died last week of an apparent heart attack.

The 31-year-old Fitzgerald was a linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under Walker. His appointment came one day after he spoke at a memorial service for Walker.

Fitzgerald starred at linebacker for the 1995 Northwestern team that won the Big Ten and went to the Rose Bowl, a game he missed with a broken leg. He also played the next season when the Wildcats made it to the Citrus Bowl.

- From wire reports