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News Blitz 7/15: Dennard scheduled to appear in court on July 31
Dennard -- who is on probation for assaulting a Lincoln police officer last year -- will face the Lancaster County District Court to determine whether or not his probation has been violated.
"His revocation hearing comes six days after players for the Patriots are due back in Massachusetts for training," adds O'Brien. "Dennard is required to appear — unless his attorney seeks and is granted a different court date."
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that one scout has compared Patriots rookie free-agent running back George Winn to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
"When the Patriots signed Winn to add depth at running back entering training camp, I figured he’d mostly be a "camp body" who could absorb some of the pounding later in preseason games," writes Reiss. "That probably isn't far off, but a closer look also reveals that Winn was running hard late last season for Cincinnati, to the point that one evaluator opined that nobody in the Big East wanted to tackle him."
Reiss adds that Winn faces long odds to make the 53-man roster, but doesn't rule out the possibility of the 5-foot-10, 218 pound running back sticking on the practice squad -- and possibly emerging in time.
"LeGarrette Blount enters training camp on the fringe of this discussion," writes Underhill. "He struggled running between the tackles in Tampa Bay, and will need to show improvement in that area to knock Brandon Bolden from the roster. Still, the battle is close and could go either way."
Gary Horton of ESPN Insider lists the AFC's 10 most versatile players. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman comes in at No. 3 on the list -- behind Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
"He was a college QB so he is even something of a threat to throw when he lines up in the backfield as a runner," writes Horton. "Primarily though, he will take snaps at wide receiver -- either wide or in the slot -- and he has even played some on defense at the corner position. If that isn't enough, he can also give you stability in the kicking game as a kickoff and punt returner. He is not dazzling in any of these areas, but he is dependable and not mistake prone."
Frank Cooney of The Sports Xchange calls Patriots running back Shane Vereen one of the AFC's potential breakout players this season.
"Vereen enters his third NFL season with the opportunity of a career because Danny Woodhead moved to San Diego," writes Cooney. "The former Cal star will be leaned on heavily to make plays in a revamped Patriots' offense, and worked in recent minicamps at wide receiver and as a third-down back."