49ers backup QB Jim Druckenmiller proclaimed his innocence yesterday after being booked on a charge that he raped a Virginia Tech student during a visit to his alma mater.
"I am innocent, and that's all I've got to say right now," the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Druckenmiller said as he left the Montgomery County jail after his arraignment.
Druckenmiller, the Hokies' quarterback at the height of their football success, was released on a $10,000 secured bond.
Judge Ray Grubbs scheduled a jury trial for July 19.
Druckenmiller is accused of raping the student March 4 between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. at a house during a visit to Blacksburg, Va. The woman testified before a grand jury April 13, and the indictment was unsealed Friday.
Defense attorney Bev Davis said Druckenmiller wants to get the trial out of the way before the 49ers training camp begins July 26.
Davis said the woman and Druckenmiller were in a group that went to two Blacksburg bars on the night of March 3, then to the home of a Druckenmiller friend in Blacksburg, where the party continued into the early morning hours.
"It's bad judgment, but he's innocent," Davis said.
Davis and fellow defense attorney Deborah Caldwell-Bono said their client's accuser aggressively pursued him and had consensual sex with him on the night of the partying.
The charge has "created havoc with his life and career," she said. "He has been greatly surprised how easily these charges are made."
D. SANDERS HAS SURGERY: Even surgery has managed to cloud further the mystery of Deion Sanders's left big toe.
Sanders had surgery to repair the troublesome toe in New York, but it remained unclear when the Pro Bowl cornerback and punt returner will be ready to take the field again.
Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones said because the case of Sanders's damaged digit is "very unique," it would be inappropriate to establish a projected return date.
"The surgery was performed to explore and repair what Doctor [William] Hamilton described as a `rare and unusual variation of turf toe,' " Jones said in a release from Cowboys headquarters. "The doctor has informed us that it is very difficult to compare Deion's condition to that of any other athlete."
Hamilton is the specialist who performed the operation.
COLTS' PICK KILLED: Brandon Burlsworth, a second-team all-American guard who recently was drafted by the Colts, was killed when his car collided with a tractor-trailer rig in Carrolton, Ark.
The 6-foot-3, 318-pound Burlsworth, 22, was an all-Southeastern Conference selection who was taken in the third round of the draft earlier this month.
According to police, Burlsworth was driving to his home in Harrison, Ark., when his car collided with a truck near Carrolton in northwestern Arkansas. He had been working out earlier in the day at the University of Arkansas.