Alfonzo Dennard says his life is ‘all about football now’
|07.30.14 at 4:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard says he is now fully committed to his football career. It’s a career that is on life support after multiple run-ins with the law.
All of it began the weekend he was drafted in the seventh round by the Patriots in 2012. In his final game at Nebraska in 2011, Dennard was ejected for fighting with South Carolina receiver and current Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery. In the same month, he had a not-so-great Senior Bowl in front of scouts and coaches, causing his stock to plummet.
Then things got really messy.
Dennard was arrested in April 2012 for assaulting a police officer in Lincoln, Neb. and found guilty in February 2013, and the conviction carried a 30-day jail sentence to begin March 1, 2014 and two years of probation. Dennard was arrested again in July 2013 for suspicion of driving under the influence, which was ruled as a violation of his probation, and he was given an extra 30 days in jail and another year of probation.
Dennard was released after 38 days for good behavior after spending 35 days in the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility in Nebraska this year.
On Wednesday, his second day back on the practice field after missing spring OTAs and minicamp, Dennard spoke to the media for the first time since he was released from jail in April.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Dennard said. “Just move forward, just moving forward. It’s all about football now. Just trying to provide for my family.”
Dennard began training camp on the physically unable to perform list before getting cleared to practice on Tuesday. He only practiced for an hour Wednesday before working on his conditioning. He admitted that he is still a ways from being a full-go in practice.
“It’s been very tough because I just want to go out there and compete with my teammates and learn from the older guys,” Dennard said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time. I’m feeling better and better every day.”
Does watching Wednesday’s on-field scuffle between Brandon Browner and Kenbrell Thompkins get his juices going?
“Oh yeah,” Dennard said. “That’s part of football and part of our secondary. That’s what the coaches are always bragging about, trying to be a physical defense. That’s what we’re trying to get done.
“Everybody is competitive on D. That’s what coaches look for so everybody is competitive.”
This is an important time for Dennard, who is likely battling Logan Ryan for a starting corner job in the first four weeks as Browner serves his four-game suspension. When does Dennard think he’ll be back part of the competition?
“I can’t say right now,” Dennard said. “It’s just a day-by-day process. Just trying to take it day-by-day, just trying to get better and better every day. Hopefully, it plays out just [right].”
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