Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty Wednesday of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in Lincoln, Nebraska last April 21.
Sentencing for the Patriots second-year corner will be April 11. He faces up to five years in prison for the Class III-A felony andor a fine of up to 10,000. An additional year in prison and 1,000 fine could be added for the misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.
There is no minimum sentence for the felony so Dennard could get off without jail time.
Lori Pilger of the Lincoln (Nebraska) Star Journal has been following the case. Her story detailing closing arguments and the start of jury deliberations can be found here.
Dennard already paid a significant monetary price for the arrest which came a week before the 2012 draft. Prior to his arrest, he was seen as a second or third-round pick.
The Patriots were able to draft him in the seventh round as the arrest led directly to his resultant slip.
Dennard's record prior to the arrest was clean and his coach at Nebraska, Bo Pelini, staked his reputation on Dennard's incident being out of character.
After the draft, Bill Belichick said, "We just don't feel that's who he is, or even how the account of the incident came out in some places, that's what happened. But we'll see. Bottom line is we were comfortable with him, and that if he did make a mistake like so many of us have, that he'll be able to represent our organization and our team the way we want it represented and we were comfortable taking him."
Dennard's agent, Brian Murphy, said Dennard's reaction was that things happen for a reason.
Meanwhile, Dennard's Twitter feed on Wednesday didn't read like that of a young man panicked about his future. In the hours leading up to the jury's verdict, he solicited votes on what video game system to purchase and shared his choice of music. After the verdict, he mentioned that he had to get a run in.
Details like that in the hands of a judge (whose sentencing will be followed closely by the local police union serving Lincoln, Nebraska) don't give the outward impression of a person taking the verdict with great seriousness. And impressions will matter.
Football-wise, Dennard's future is now a concern. He blossomed into a starter as a rookie and has a bright future on the field. His sentencing will come before the draft so the Patriots won't have to project whether they'll have his services in 2013 or not, they will know.
With Dennard in hot water and Aqib Talib a pending free agent, the Patriots have some thinking to do when it comes to their cornerback position.