The New England Patriots performed a metaphorical surgery on their secondary this offseason, but who knew it was literal as well? League sources told the Boston Globe on Thursday that defensive back Alfonzo Dennard had offseason shoulder surgery.
He sustained a shoulder injury during the Week 13 game against the Browns. He played in five games following that contest against the Browns, and 15 games total, including both the regular and post season.
While the news comes as something of a surprise, the Patriots notoriously have a history of keeping injuries under wraps. Plus, the focus on Dennard’s offseason was on his prison sentence.
He spent 35 days in a Nebraska jail after being convicted of assaulting a police officer in 2012. He was also arrested last summer in Lincoln, Nebraska on suspicion of drunk driving, and his jail time and probation were extended accordingly.
He did not, however, miss any on-field time due to these arrests or subsequent jail time. This shoulder injury is what is keeping him off the field.
Dennard figures to start Week 1 across from Darrelle Revis in the Pats’ secondary. He has proven to be an effective no. 2 corner in his first two seasons in the league. When Brandon Browner gets off his four-week suspension, things will get interesting.
Many assume that with Browner’s price tag of $17 million over three years, he will be the immediate starter. Therefore, it’s not as simple as Dennard moving to the no. 3 cornerback spot, because Kyle Arrington is a talented slot corner. Dennard could fall all the way down to the no. 4 spot on the depth chart. So he’ll do everything within his power to keep Browner from succeeding him in the no. 2 spot.