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Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Baugher pleads not guilty day after release by Pats

ESPN.com news services

The day after being cut by the New England Patriots, punter Danny Baugher is alleged to have turned his anger and frustration on his 54-year-old father.

Danny Baugher

Baugher

Baugher, released by the team on Aug. 29, has been charged with assaulting his father, Erle, in a fast-food parking lot at 4 a.m. on Aug. 30, police said.

Police said Danny Baugher, 23, was drunk at the time and told them that he "was released by the New England Patriots [Aug. 29] and he was not handling it very well," according to a police report obtained by the Boston Herald.

Baugher pleaded not guilty to assault and battery last Thursday in Hingham (Mass.) District Court. He was released on his own recognizance with the condition he refrain from domestic abuse, according to the Herald.

The Patriots signed Baugher to their practice squad last season after his release by the Cincinnati Bengals. He did not appear on New England's 2006 roster but was hoping to win the full-time job for 2007 when the team released veteran Josh Miller.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick signed 30-year-old veteran Chris Hanson for the job out of training camp. Hanson, who was released by the New Orleans Saints earlier that week, has 428 punts for 18,347 yards with the Green Bay Packers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has averaged 42.9 yards per punt.

"Coach Belichick always says he has to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis and he always tries to make the decision that's best for the football team," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, according to the Herald. "I don't get the sense that [Baugher's release] was anything non-football-related."

According to the police report, a spat between father and son inside a vehicle escalated to the point where Danny Baugher punched Erle in the face. Erle Baugher declined medical treatment.

Officer Timothy Kane, responding to a 911 report of two men fighting, said Danny Baugher had "bloodshot glassy eyes, slurred and thick-tongued speech, as well as the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath."

He described Baugher as "very evasive with his answers" and, when ordered out of the car, unable to keep his balance "due to high level of intoxication."