Dennard found guilty of assualting officer, resisting arrest

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Dennard found guilty of assualting officer, resisting arrest

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.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.

Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

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Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)

HOUSTON TEXANS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)

FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)