By: Steve Balestrieri
New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was sentenced to 30 days in jail (with credit for 3 days already served) in Lincoln, Neb., on Thursday morning for assault on a police officer during an incident outside a bar last April.
Dennard won’t have to serve his jail time until March of 2014 and was also put on probation for two years for two charges which will be served concurrently and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
|Pats CB Alfonzo Dennard avoided major jail time and should be in training camp on-time for 2013. (SBalestrieri photo)|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and and Nebraska coach Bo Pellini both wrote letters to the judge in the case, Judge Stephanie Stacy asking for probation. Dennard faced a maximum of six years after being found guilty of three charges, including assaulting a police officer, following a February trial.
What it means for 2013- Dennard will be allowed to travel to and from New England and Nebraska for work reasons and should be in to training camp on time. He won’t be allowed to take any other trips with his family without checking with his parole officer.
He will be allowed to travel with the team on road trips and it is unlikely that he will be suspended by the NFL since it has already been pointed out that the incident happened prior to the draft and he’s paid the cost in the loss of up to $500,000 by his draft status plummeting.
Dennard, who was projected to be an early (1st– 2nd Rd) pick in the NFL Draft of 2012. He was selected by the Patriots in the 7th round, but had a solid finish to the season playing 10 games with seven starts and recording 35 tackles and three INTs.
Cornerback still a position of need- The Patriots can breathe a sigh of relief now that Dennard will be back in the fold, not only for 2013 but beyond as well. However, they still must look to the draft to bolster a CB position that is thin beyond the starters.
They re-signed both Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib during free agency, those players plus Dennard are essentially the starting three corners for the team. If any of those players go down with an injury, the team has Ras-I Dowling as the key backup and he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.
The judge’s decision does give the Patriots the option of not having to draft a CB in the first round, with a bit more leeway in looking for a good fit.
Dennard declined comment when leaving the courtroom and left with his girlfriend and daughter.
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