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Alfonzo Dennard pleads not guilty in assault case

New England Patriots rookie safety Alfonzo Dennard has entered a not-guilty plea on charges of third-degree assault of a police officer, the Omaha World-Herald reported Wednesday, citing court documents.

The former Nebraska standout filed a written arraignment form in Lancaster County District Court and waived Wednesday's arraignment hearing. His next court date hasn't yet been set.

The Patriots rolled the dice on Dennard, whom some believed to be a second-round talent before his April 21 arrest wrecked his draft stock. New England grabbed Dennard in the seventh and final round, 224th overall.

"Alfonzo is a guy we spent a lot of time on," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told The Associated Press after the draft. "Obviously, the incident affected his draft position, but we researched it, we found out as much as we could about it."

Dennard was fighting with another man outside a downtown Lincoln bar when cops intervened. Dennard allegedly pushed one of the officers and then punched him in the face.

Dennard agreed on a four-year deal with the Patriots earlier this month.

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