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NFL notebook

Patriot hearing waived

Dennard enters not guilty plea

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / May 31, 2012
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The next court date for Patriots rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard stemming from an April 21 incident outside a Lincoln, Neb., bar is unknown after Dennard’s attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf this week.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 205-pound Dennard was on the field in Foxborough with the rest of his teammates for organized team activities on Wednesday.

An arraignment hearing scheduled for Wednesday was waived when, according to court documents, Dennard’s attorney entered a written plea.

The 22-year-old University of Nebraska product is facing charges of third-degree assault on a police officer (a felony) and resisting arrest. Dennard faces a maximum of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

A trial date has not been set.

The Big Ten defensive back of the year last season, Dennard allegedly punched an officer in the head who was trying to break up a fight between Dennard and another man early on the morning of April 21. Police said Dennard was arrested after a brief struggle with four officers.

Projected as a third-round pick at worst, Dennard fell to the Patriots in the seventh round (224th overall). He was drafted a week after after his arrest.

Pro Bowl is on

After a promise from players that the game will be more competitive, the league will hold the Pro Bowl in Honolulu Jan. 27, a week before the Super Bowl.

Commissioner Roger Goodell had made it clear that canceling the All-Star Game was a possibility after the uninspired play of last season’s 59-41 AFC victory. Following discussions between the league and the players’ union, the NFL announced Wednesday that Aloha Stadium would host the Pro Bowl for the third straight year.

It will be the 33d Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

“The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii,’’ said NFL executive vice president Ray Anderson. “We will support the players on this initiative to improve the Pro Bowl.’’

Smith 49ers’ man

Coach Jim Harbaugh insists the 49ers planned to have Alex Smith as their quarterback even while they examined the possibility of signing then-free agent Peyton Manning. Harbaugh ended his weekly meeting with reporters by addressing what he says is the “erroneous perception that we were flirting with Peyton Manning.’’ Harbaugh called the reports silly and phony, then spoke at length about his and the team’s ongoing support for Smith. Smith signed a three-year, $33 million contract to remain in San Francisco in March, days after Manning agreed to a $96 million, five-year contract with the Broncos . . . Kordell Stewart officially retired, even though he hadn’t played since 2005. The player who became known as “Slash’’ for his ability to fill multiple roles officially called it quits after signing a one-day contract with the Steelers . . . Vikings fourth-year cornerback Asher Allen abruptly retired. Allen started nine games and appeared in 12 last year, but missed time because of a concussion (at least his second in the NFL) and a shoulder injury. According to coach Leslie Frazier, Allen did not say whether his retirement was related to injuries . . . The Seahawks confirmed they will hold a tryout for Brian Banks, a former high school star linebacker who was exonerated last week in a California rape case . . . The Bills signed receiver Derek Session, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Maine.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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