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The day after the state dropped its charges against Dominique Hatfield, Kyle Whittingham opened the door to a possible return for the former Utah cornerback.
"We are relieved that Dominique has been exonerated of the charges against him, but that does not necessarily impact the disciplinary actions we imposed due to a violation of team rules," Whittingham said in a statement. "There is, however, the possibility of future reinstatement to our team if he is able to meet certain expectations we have in place for our student-athletes."
Expected to be a starter in 2015, Hatfield recorded 38 tackles and nine pass breakups last season. He has a redshirt year available, and should he sit out this season, he would have two years of eligibility remaining in 2016.
Asked whether Hatfield might be reinstated this season, senior associate athletics director Liz Abel said via email, "that is to be determined."
Whittingham's statement at the time of Hatfield's release indicated there was more to his dismissal than the robbery and theft charges he faced at the time.
Those charges were dropped by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office on Thursday after surveillance footage and a phone number spoofing technology "cast doubt on the defendant's guilt of the crimes as alleged in the original information," according to the DA's motion to dismiss.
Hatfield, 20, had been accused of first-degree felony armed robbery for holding up a man at knifepoint and taking $180 cash.
Original charging documents also say Hatfield admitted to finding cellphones at parties and trying to sell them without making an attempt to return them to their owner. Salt Lake County District Attorney Chief Deputy Blake Nakamura said Thursday there was a good chance his office would re-file the theft charge a class A misdemeanor while Hatfield attorney Greg Skordas felt it was very unlikely the state would re-file the felony armed robbery charge.