Risky business has come back to haunt the New England Patriots with the arrests of tight end Aaron Hernandez and, this morning, of cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on suspected driving-under-the-influence charges, as Lincoln police confirmed Thursday morning.
Hernandez is no longer with the team as he sits in jail, charged with first-degree murder and awaiting a trial. The future remains undetermined for Dennard, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is liable to hand him a suspension for his transgression under the league's omnipresent personal conduct policy.
It's a good thing no one got hurt, or else this situation could have been much worse for all parties involved.
Both Hernandez and Dennard are innocent until proven guilty, but at this point, it's safe to say both are guilty of squandering a second opportunity that no one else would give them.
It's not hard to understand why the Patriots took those chances. Both had boatloads of talent to go with their checkered past. In the Patriots never-ending quest for value in the draft, these are the players that are often available and present the best bang-for-the-buck.
There's nothing wrong with that strategy, but it comes with its risks, both from an on-field and off-field perspective.
Teams take such risks in the draft annually, be it on a player who's been injured in the past, or who has had a run-in or two with the law prior to his time in the NFL.
Browns defensive end Jabaal Sheard was arrested for assault in 2010 after throwing a man through a glass door. He was pepper sprayed by multiple officers, according to reports. The Browns drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft, and he's stayed out of trouble since then, while logging 15.5 sacks over his first two years.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine, causing him to drop to the third round in 2011. He's logged 15.5 sacks for the Chiefs in two years, including 10 last year, and hasn't missed a game.
There's little doubt these gambles can pay off.
When they don't, though, it's not the fault of the organization, even though it is to their detriment.
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