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#pounditWednesday, July 24, 2024

Report addresses Sean Kugler-Steve Keim mistaken identity rumors

Steve Keim in a suit

Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches pre-game warmups before playing against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Former Arizona Cardinals assistant coach Sean Kugler filed a request for arbitration this week and claimed he may have been the victim of mistaken identity with the alleged incident that led to his firing. A new report says that was not the case.

The Cardinals were in Mexico City for their Week 11 game against the San Francisco 49ers when they were informed by Mexican authorities that Kugler allegedly groped a woman. The team sent the former offensive line coach/running game coordinator home and quickly terminated him.

The law firm of Shields Petitti this week filed a request for arbitration with the NFL on behalf of Kugler. The 56-year-old Kugler denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement that he may have been a victim of “miscommunication or mistaken identity.

Kugler’s legal filing came in the same week longtime Cardinals general manager Steve Keim decided to take a leave of absence for health-related reasons. Kugler and Keim happen to look alike, so some reputable websites speculated that Kugler may have accidentally been identified as Keim in Mexico.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Cardinals are certain it was Kugler who was involved in the Mexico incident. Rapoport was told by a source with direct knowledge of the situation that there was “absolutely no mistaken or uncertain identity.” Kugler was positively identified using not only eyewitness accounts but also hotel surveillance footage.

The Cardinals said in a statement on Friday that they remain confident they had good cause to fire Kugler.

Kugler joined the Cardinals in 2019. He originally served as their offensive line coach and then added run game coordinator duties in 2021.

Keim has been with the Cardinals organization since 1999 and has served as the team’s GM since 2013. He signed a long-term extension in March that will keep him tied to the organization through 2027.


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