One important domino has toppled with regard to Alfonzo Dennard's legal limbo. The New England Patriots' seventh-round selection pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of third-degree assault on a police officer, according to Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha-World Herald.
Dennard's next court date has not yet been announced. The 22-year-old still faces charges of resisting arrest and third-degree assault stemming from the original altercation.
The Omaha-World Herald's Sam McKewon passed along the vague details of the alleged assault and the events that led up to it:
Lincoln police said Dennard was fighting with another man outside a bar near 14th and O Streets [at] about 2:15 a.m.
When officers attempted to intervene, police said, Dennard allegedly pushed and then punched one officer in the face.
It took four police officers to take Dennard into custody, according to police.
The injured officer is a four-year Police Department veteran. He suffered a minor injury to the left side of his face, but did not seek medical treatment, police said.
From the get-go, the Patriots have appeared quite willing to defend Dennard's character, despite this incident. That lends credence to the assertion that this was a blip on the radar for an otherwise good kid and potentially great football player.
His former college coach, Bo Pelini, has staked his reputation on Dennard turning this situation around and coming out of it a better man.
"That isn't who he is, that's never been who he is, and that's not going to be who he is in the future," Pelini said. "And I put my reputation, and I put everything I stand for as a football coach behind that young man.
Pelini's extensive experience with Dennard is highlighted in-depth in a piece by Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com.
"The kid has overcome every obstacle that has ever been in front of him, and I have full confidence that he will overcome this, because he always has," high school coach Mark Ledford said.