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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault in a plea deal with prosecutors in his Texas child abuse case.
The deal allows Peterson to avoid serving any jail time, reports USA Today. Instead, Peterson will serve 80 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine along with court costs.
The plea deal also may open the door to Peterson's return to the NFL.
Peterson was charged with felony child abuse in September after a doctor discovered multiple cuts and bruises on Peterson's 4-year-old son's back, buttocks, legs, ankles, and scrotum. After being questioned by police, Peterson admitted that he had hit the boy with a switch -- a tree branch stripped of leaves -- for disciplinary purposes.
Although Texas law permits corporal punishment of children, the injuries to Peterson's son were considered unreasonably severe; Peterson was charged with negligent injury to a child. Had he been convicted, he could have faced up to two years behind bars.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, Peterson will be subject to two years of deferred adjudication, a form of probation. At the end of two years, if Peterson hasn't violated the terms of the deferred adjudication, the conviction will not appear on his record.
The deal also clears up outstanding issues regarding Peterson's bond in his child abuse case. Prosecutors had wanted Peterson's bond revoked after the player allegedly told a drug tester that he had smoked marijuana while released on bond. Although the bond revocation is no longer an issue, Peterson will be subjected to drug testing as part of his probation.
Peterson, who has been suspended with pay from the NFL since September 17, now awaits a decision from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on whether he will be allowed to return to the league this season. An NFL spokesman told USA Today that the league "cannot provide a timetable" for a decision on Peterson's potential return.
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