There was immense speculation that the New England Patriots would opt to release Alfonzo Dennard after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early in the morning on July 11. Dennard has a court hearing on July 31 to determine if his arrest will violate the probation that he received after being sentenced to 30 days in jail for assaulting a police officer back in April. Regardless of the court’s decision on that day, the Patriots have no plans to release the second-year cornerback.
The Patriots released a statement on July 11, the day of Dennard’s arrest, “expressing extreme disappointment” and vowed to get “more information on the incident.” It appears that the Patriots have sufficent information on the incident to make the decision to hold onto Dennard.
Because Dennard has been arrested twice in the past 15 months, it is likely that Dennard will get suspended by the NFL. No matter how the long the suspension may be, the Patriots are making the right decision by not letting go of Dennard. Dennard had a strong rookie season in 2012, combining for 35 tackles, a forced fumble and three interceptions in 10 games last year.
Dennard is expected to be a starting cornerback in the Patriots’ secondary for the upcoming season. He may be suspended two to four games, but he should be able to fall back into the playing rotation with ease upon his return. By keeping Dennard, the Patriots will feature an impressive secondary that includes cornerback Aqib Talib, strong safety Adrian Wilson and free safety Devin McCourty.
It would have too rash of a decision to cut Dennard, even in the wake of the murder charges on former tight end Aaron Hernandez. Dennard is a talented 23-year-old cornerback who has a chance to be an impact player in the Patriots’ secondary for years to come.