Saints: Deonte Harris sentenced to 1-year probation, could miss three games

Deonte Harris, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Deonte Harris, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris was sentenced on Monday to one year of supervised probation for a DWI arrest in July, when he was charged for driving under the influence near Baltimore.

Harris’ probation term began Monday, and the sentence comes without a conviction after Harris pleaded “not guilty” for the DWI.

Now that Harris’ legal case is closed, he is subject to receive punishment from the NFL for his actions.

In the past, the league has given out two-game suspensions after a first offense of driving under the influence, but the current collective bargaining agreement, as introduced in 2020, calls for a three-game suspension.

Per’s Amie Just, the NFL issued the following statement on Harris: “We have been monitoring developments in the matter which remains under review.”

The fact that the sentence resulted in a non-conviction could work in Harris’ favor since it makes it more difficult for the league to discipline him.

The formal plea entered on Harris’ behalf was not guilty, and in his court appearance, the judge sentenced Harris to probation but stopped short of ruling whether or not he was guilty.

New Orleans Saints wideout Deonte Harris could face a three-game suspension in 2021

If Harris does miss time, the Saints wide receiver corps will take the hardest hit as New Orleans looks ahead to arguably their toughest stretch of the season.

Harris is currently the Saints’ leading receiver through nine weeks of the season, and he provides extra value as one of the league’s shiftiest return men as well.

The third-year pro has recorded 21 catches for 323 yards and two touchdowns, averaging a team-high 46.1 receiving yards per game. Harris also ranks first in the NFL in kickoff returns (27.6 yards per return) and second in punt returns (15.6 yards per return) on seven tries.

Many will remember Harris earning All-Pro honors as an undrafted rookie in 2019, during which he returned 36 punts for 338 yards.

Harris has already missed a game due to injury, and following news of Michael Thomas’ absence for the rest of the year, New Orleans can’t afford to lose Harris at all if they want a taste of the playoffs.

Week 9’s loss to the lowly Atlanta Falcons put the incompetence of the Saints’ receiving corps on full display. Harris caught six of eight targets for 52 yards, looking like the best of the worst, and he’ll continue serving as Trevor Siemian’s most dependable target in 2021 — if he doesn’t miss too much time.

Harris escaped his DWI arrest mostly unscathed so far, but he may have to face more consequences yet.

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