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Monday, May 21, 2012
Kenrick Ellis to serve 45 days in jail

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

When the New York Jets' mandatory minicamp ends June 14, backup nose tackle Kenrick Ellis will go to jail for 45 days, but will avoid deportation.

Ellis, who reached a plea agreement last week in which he accepted a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and battery, was sentenced Monday in Hampton, Va., to 179 days in prison, with 89 days suspended. The deal also includes two years of supervised probation.

Based on Virginia law, Ellis will serve 45 days with good behavior, his attorney, Timothy Clancy, said in a phone interview. Ellis will report June 15 to the city jail in Hampton, where two years ago he was arrested and charged with malicious wounding -- a felony that carried a five- to 20-year sentence. He was a Hampton University student at the time.

Ellis
Ellis

Based on the timing of the sentence, Ellis won't miss any OTAs or minicamp. The Jets report for training camp July 26, so he will miss a few days. There is nothing on the Jets' calendar from minicamp to training camp.

Even though the incident happened while Ellis was in college, his case is subject to review under the NFL's personal-conduct policy, according to a league spokesman. However, the timing of the incident will be considered as a factor, the spokesman said.

Ellis appeared in court Monday and entered an Alford plea, meaning he doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution could prove the case against him if it went to trial.

That would've been a risk for Ellis, who was born in Jamaica. Because he's not a U.S. citizen, Ellis faced deportation if he had been convicted of felony assault, according to immigration law.

This plea agreement "excludes that possibility," according to Clancy, acknowledging the specter of deportation was "the most huge thing" during negotiations with the prosecution.

The Jets were aware of Ellis' legal issues when they chose him in the third round of the 2011 draft. At the time, team officials said they were comfortable with the risk.

Ellis, who declined last week to comment, is "anxious to get this behind him," Clancy said. "He wants to get on with his career with the New York Jets. This (plea deal) is a fair compromise and it protects his ability to do that."

The timing of the sentence was based around Ellis' football schedule, according to Clancy.

Ellis was involved in a campus fight on April 10, 2010, when he assaulted a fellow student on the Hampton campus. Ellis said he was defending his girlfriend, sources said.

He also faces a $3 million civil suit that was originally filed last April by the victim, Dennis Eley. In his complaint, obtained by ESPNNewYork.com, he accused Ellis of beating him unconscious and breaking his nose and jaw, requiring two surgeries.

Eley's attorney, S. Howard Woodson, recently withdrew the suit, but only after a technicality meant it was about to lapse under Virginia state law. Woodson told ESPNNewYork.com late last week he likely would re-file, barring a mutually agreed upon financial settlement with Ellis.

Ellis appeared in only five games last season, recording six tackles.