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A Lincoln judge sent a former Husker football player to prison Tuesday for a home break-in a year ago.

“I just feel like I let a lot of people down,” Rickey Thenarse said before Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson sentenced him to three to six years. “I’m sorry for doing that."

Thenarse, 27, pleaded no contest to a Jan. 14, 2015, burglary on Fletcher Avenue. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a second charge for a burglary 10 days later at an apartment on West Charleston Street.

In that one, a woman was home and called 911 early that morning, saying there was somebody inside her apartment and that she was hiding, police said.

Officers saw a man running from the apartment when they arrived and later arrested Thenarse.

Police said they found his fingerprints on pawned items stolen in the earlier burglary.

In court Tuesday, Nelson said one can only imagine how scary it would be to come home to find his or her home ransacked, or to be at home when someone breaks in.

“These are the kinds of things … you, me, everybody worries about happening,” she said.

Nelson told Thenarse that while she knows he is sorry and regrets his behavior, it doesn't change what he did. She said anything less than incarceration would depreciate the serious nature of the crime.

Thenarse will have to serve a year and a half before he is eligible for parole.

He played safety for Nebraska from 2006 to 2010 and in three preseason games as a member of the NFL Seattle Seahawks in 2011.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or On Twitter @LJSpilger.


Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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