The shoe that Patriots fans have been waiting to drop has finally happened, and the news is not good. Rookie cornerback and best defensive back Alfonso Dennard was found guilty of two of the three counts he was charged for and is facing possible jail time. Dennard punched a cop in April of 2012, just days before the NFL Draft. Pegged as a second round prospect, Dennard was set to make millions. Punching a cop tends to send up a red flag for NFL general managers and scouts, and Dennard slipped to the seventh round. A gift to New England, but a gift that came with a lingering stain, Dennard played so well that the Patriots came to rely on him. Now the situation is up in the air.
The first issue to keep in mind is a prison sentence. Dennard is facing UP TO 6 years in prison, but he is a 1st time offender with no record, so there is no chance he gets more than one year. I don’t think he gets prison time, and the reason is simple- he is a high profile guy who has kept his nose clean his entire life except for this one time, and his job will allow for the state to hit him with a huge fine and cite him as an example to others. Dennard also cost himself a huge amount in salary when this occurred, and his defense will bring that up when it comes to the sentence hearing.
Assuming Dennard doesn’t get jail time, he will then have to deal with the NFL and the self appointed sheriff, the 30 million dollar man, Roger Goodell. In my humble opinion, the league has no leg to stand on here. This incident occurred before Dennard was in the league, and he has had no problems since he came to New England. The situation with Terrelle Pryor was over the top, and I have no doubt we will see something similar to that situation. Is it crazy to think that Dennard will push back if the league tries to suspend him? It is only a matter of time before someone takes legal action in one of these situations, so why not now?
The bottom line is the Patriots knew what they were getting themselves into when they drafted the talented corner out of Nebraska, so they need to stand behind him now and get him back to the lineup as soon as possible. Losing Dennard should not send the Patriot front office into scramble mode, they just need to stick with the plan they had in place. Who knows, maybe this situation is part of the offseason plan as far as roster planning. Patriots’ fans should buckle up; this offseason looks like it is going to be a bumpy and interesting ride.
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