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Dennard discipline from NFL a slippery slope

Timing of incident could leave loophole in personal conduct policy. Terry McCormick

Print This February 23, 2013, 01:59 PM EST

New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard's felony assault conviction for hitting a police officer could lead to an interesting dilemma for the NFL and the players association.

Per the report of Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, the rub with the league disciplining Dennard with a suspension is that technically by the language of the NFL's personal conduct policy, Dennard was not an NFL employee when the incident occurred just before the 2012 draft.

The personal conduct policy, as Bedard points out, reads as follows:

Covered Persons – This policy applies to all players under contract; all coaches; all game officials; all full-time employees of the NFL, NFL clubs, and all NFL-related entities; all rookie players once they are selected in the NFL college draft; and all undrafted rookie players, unsigned veterans who were under contract in the prior League Year...

So the question becomes does the policy apply from the time of the incident or at the time of the conclusion with Dennard being convicted of a felony this week?

The NFLPA will almost assuredly look at it from the viewpoint that Dennard was not yet an employee of the league, and the NFL may be forced into a situation much like what happened with Titans receiver Kenny Britt in 2011, where he was merely warned after a string of incidents during the lockout, when he technically was not in the league's employ either.

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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