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USC Kicker Drunk When He Fell To Death

USC kicker Mario Danelo kicks a field goal against University of Washington during the second half of football in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006. Danelo was found dead Saturday, Jan. 6, 2006, about 120 feet down a rocky cliff near Point Fermin lighthouse in San Pedro, Calif.
AP Photo/Matt Sayles,file
Southern California kicker Mario Danelo was drunk when he plunged over a cliff to his death, but the coroner's office Monday was unable to say why he fell.

A toxicological report accompanying Danelo's autopsy report found he had 0.23 blood-alcohol level, nearly three times the legal limit in California. No drugs were detected in his body, the report said.

The autopsy report said the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries, but "because of the unanswered questions, we are stating the manner of death as undetermined," Deputy Medical Examiner Jeffrey Gutstadt of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office wrote in the report.

The 21-year-old player was found Jan. 6 more than 100 feet down a rocky cliff in San Pedro. Police said from the outset that foul play was ruled out and his death was either an accident or a suicide.

Someone flying a remote-control airplane noticed something at the bottom of the cliff and a friend hiked down to the beach and discovered the body, Pierson said.

At the time his body was found, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said investigators did not find a surf board, scuba-diving tanks or anything else to indicate Danelo might have been down there for any of the recreational activities common to the area.

Following Danelo's death, several Southern California players said they were convinced the kicker did not take his own life.

A USC spokesman declined to comment about the coroner's report. Danelo's brother, Joey Danelo, was not immediately available for comment.

The report also couldn't ascertain Danelo's state of mind before his death, but he "would have had to scale a wall to get to the strip of land before the steep drop of about 150 feet while under the influence of alcohol."

Danelo, the son of former NFL kicker Joe Danelo, made 15 of 16 field goals this season and led the Trojans in scoring with 89 points. He made two field goals in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day to help USC beat Michigan 32-18.

He missed two field goals in his two-year career at USC, going 26-for-28, and he was 127-of-134 on extra points. He set NCAA single-season records with 83 extra points and 86 attempts in the 2005 season.

Danelo was a walk-on at USC in 2003 and received a scholarship two years later.

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.