The verdict is in for cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and according to the Boston Globe the news is good for the Patriots. The cornerback received 30 days in jail and 24 months of probation for assaulting a police officer last April, but that sentence won't begin until March 1, 2014, meaning it will not affect the current season.
Judge Stephanie Stacy issued the sentencing Thursday morning in Lincoln, Neb., which also includes 100 hours of community service that will have to be "law-enforcement related." In addition Dennard will need permission to travel for reasons outside of work, but that won't affect his ability to travel between Nebraska and Foxborough or during the season. When Dennard reports to jail in 2014, he will get credit for three days already served.
The Globe report added the fact that Bill Belichick and Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini wrote letters on Dennard's behalf, and Dennard agreed with the terms of his punishment after apologizing to his coaches, family, and fans prior to sentencing. And he also apologized to the police officer he assaulted, Ben Kopsa.
There remains the possibility that Dennard could be subject to league discipline should Commissioner Roger Goodell decide to go in that direction. Since the infraction took place before Dennard was drafted, it would stand to reason that the Players' Association would fight vehemently against any further sanctions levied against Dennard.
However, a case could be made that once Dennard attended the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis two months before the arrest, thus donning the NFL logo and entering into the world of professional football, the league could still punish him, although that would seem unlikely at this point.
For now Dennard will be available for the full 16-game season and projects as a starting cornerback opposite the re-signed Aqib Talib.