New England Patriots fans circled the 11th of April on their calenders as the day of Alfonzo Dennard‘s sentencing, and ESPN Boston’s Mike Rodak reports that Dennard has received a month of jail time (30 days, to be exact) that will start on the 1st of March next year. Dennard will also receive two years of probation, and that’s what we all expected. Some people who were really optimistic thought Dennard would miss out on jail time completely, but most people like the Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard thought Dennard would get 90-180 days in prison.
I thought it would be somewhere around less than 90 days, because Dennard is known for his character and had no priors. The evidence indicting him wasn’t damning either, but it was certainly more than enough to get him some jail time. I don’t think Dennard was let off the hook, and this sentence seems fair at first glance.
If you had any fears that the Patriots steal of the 2012 NFL Draft would miss regular season time, then those fears have been easily quelled. He won’t even miss OTAs or training camp in 2014, and Dennard is good to go. The Patriots won’t be drafting with Dennard’s jail sentence in mind at all, so if they do draft a CB then it’s definitely because they wanted a CB like Desmond Trufant or Johnthan Banks.
Dennard had an incredible rookie season, and he was definitely a steal for the Patriots in the seventh round of the draft. He is a physical corner who has shutdown potential, and he burst onto the scene after neutralizing Eric Decker last season. Since then, Dennard has been solid in every aspect, has made plays of his own, and the should-have-been second-rounder was even better than Aqib Talib last year. He isn’t better than Talib, but he actually seems significantly more consistent. And like Talib, Dennard has good upside and plays the run tough.
It’s great to hear that the sentence won’t cut into any playing time for Alfonzo Dennard, but there was little doubt that he deserved jail time. 30 days is pretty light all-told, and I don’t think you can have any complaints about that. Some will say he got off the hook, but I think the two years of probation is a solid safeguard.
The league is fully expected to not discipline Dennard, because his incident came during the “buffer period” between being a college player for Nebraska and a cornerback for the New England Patriots.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.