Ex-Patriot Alfonzo Dennard jailed for five days

Elise Amendola/Associated Press file

Alfonzo Dennard was drafted by the Patriots in April 2012, a week after being arrested for punching a police officer in Lincoln, Neb.

Associated Press 

Former Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was jailed in Nebraska for violating terms of the probation he was sentenced to for punching a Lincoln police officer a week before the 2012 NFL draft.

According to court documents, Dennard was sentenced last week to five days in Lancaster County Jail in Lincoln for testing positive for alcohol three times in the past month and skipping a drug test. He reported to jail Tuesday.


Dennard was placed on probation for third-degree felony assault of a police officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest for his role in a scuffle outside a bar in April 2012. The former Nebraska Cornhusker played three years with the Patriots and was on their Super Bowl-winning team last season. The Arizona Cardinals cut him in July.

More on the ex’s

With the Falcons heading for a historic collapse, no one is feeling the heat more than general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Once hailed as a rising star in the NFL executive ranks, the Bill Belichick protege could be in the final weeks of an eight-year tenure. The Falcons are mired in a six-game losing streak and all but eliminated from playoff contention with three games to go. More stunning, Atlanta (6-7) must win at least two of those games to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to finish with a losing record after starting 5-0. Dimitroff rarely speaks to the media these days and, through a team spokesman, turned down an interview request from the Associated Press . . . The Giants released veteran safety Brandon Meriweather. The former Patriot had 53 tackles (38 solo), two interceptions, and seven passes defensed in 11 games with the Giants this season. He has missed the last two games because of a knee injury . . . The Jaguars signed former Patriots running back Jonas Gray off Miami’s practice squad, a move that could mean starter T.J. Yeldon won’t play Sunday because of a sprained left knee . . . New Ravens third-string quarterback Ryan Mallett said he has ‘‘grown up a lot’’ since being cut in October by Houston. Mallett, drafted by the Patriots in 2011, missed a practice and a team flight this season while with the Texans. He played in six games, starting four, before being released. ‘‘The best thing probably was for me to be cut,” he said. “I've learned a lot from it. . . . It was a piece of humble pie, but it digested real quickly.’’

QBs back to work

A pair of star quarterbacks returned to the field, but won’t be under center this weekend.

Peyton Manning practiced for the first time in a month for the Broncos but will be on the sideline watching Brock Osweiler, for at least another weekend.

Coach Gary Kubiak ruled out Manning for the Broncos’ showdown at Pittsburgh. But he said Manning took a ‘‘step in the right direction’’ in his return from a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.


Kubiak said the plan was to increase Manning’s workload Thursday. He wasn’t about to prognosticate an eventual return to the lineup for the 18-year veteran.

Manning spent a week in a hard cast and several more days in a walking boot after he was pulled from the lineup Nov. 15.

He progressed to throwing indoors on his own last week and this marked his first practice with teammates in 32 days.

‘‘It’s great to have him back out there,’’ said Osweiler, who will make his fifth start in place of Manning when the Broncos (10-3) visit the Steelers (8-5).

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck (kidney) wore a helmet and threw passes for Indianapolis for the first time since he was injured Nov. 8.

Matt Hasselbeck (neck, ribs) missed practice, yet Colts coach Chuck Pagano remained optimistic the 40-year-old backup will start Sunday’s crucial game against Houston.


Stewart, Hoyer out

The Panthers will be without starting running back Jonathan Stewart on Sunday against the Giants as they look to keep their unbeaten season intact. Coach Ron Rivera said Stewart, third in the NFL in rushing with 989 yards, has been ruled out because of a sprained left foot . . . Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Brian Hoyer will miss Sunday’s game after being diagnosed with his second concussion in less than a month and the team will go with backup quarterback T.J. Yates . . . Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor sat out practice because of a tailbone injury suffered in last Sunday’s win over Baltimore . . . The Bills placed starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore on season-ending IR because of a dislocated shoulder . . . Running back Dexter McCluster (broken left wrist) was placed on IR by the Titans . . . The NFL will have game referees in the playoffs consult with its director of officiating about the application of rules in situations not currently covered in instant replay reviews. Those situations will include the appropriate assessment of penalty yardage; proper administration of the game clock; correct downs; and any other administrative matter not currently reviewable. But Dean Blandino, the vice president of officiating, will not be able to call a foul or change a call, ‘‘or otherwise become involved in on-field judgment calls that are not subject to the current instant replay system.’’ . . . Longtime Rams equipment manager Todd Hewitt has dropped his age discrimination lawsuit against the team, ending four years of litigation.