TABC investigating club where Cowboys players may have been drinking

Posted Sunday, Dec. 09, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Jerry Brown

Position: Dallas Cowboys linebacker (practice squad)

Experience: Rookie

Acquired: Free agent signed to practice squad on Oct. 24

College: Illinois

Size: 6-foot-4, 265 pounds

Josh Brent

Position: Dallas Cowboys nose tackle

Experience: Third-year pro

Acquired: Selected in the seventh round of 2010 Supplemental Draft by Dallas

College: Illinois

Size: 6-foot-2, 320 pounds

A tragic change of plans

The Dallas Cowboys spent Saturday morning making plans on the fly after learning about the death of Jerry Brown and the arrest of Josh Brent.

The news meant a break from the routine of a departure day in the NFL. And for the Cowboys, it also meant finding a way to let the players know what happened without revealing the news of Brown's death before his relatives were notified.

Spokesman Rich Dalrymple explained how the Cowboys learned the news and how they adjusted.

9:15 a.m.: The organization was informed of the accident, the players involved and what happened. The team was told Irving police were trying to find Brown's mother to notify her.

Midmorning: The Cowboys make plans to account for Brent's absence. They sign defensive tackle Robert Calloway from the practice squad and make room for him on the active roster by placing defensive back Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve.

12:30 p.m.: The Cowboys are scheduled to have a team meeting. But they are told that Brown's mother had not been notified. They postpone the meeting.

1:01 p.m.: The Indianapolis Colts put out a statement about Brown, a former player. "On behalf of the entire Colts family, our sincerest condolences go out to Jerry's family and friends. He was a good teammate that was well-liked by all. Today's tragic news is just another reminder of how fragile life is and how every day given is a gift."

1:30 p.m.: The team assembles on the plane, and nonfootball personnel are asked to step out for a few minutes. Coach Jason Garrett tells the team about the wreck and Brown's death.

1:45 p.m.: The Cowboys' charter flight leaves for Cincinnati.

2:22 p.m.: The Cowboys put out a statement from owner Jerry Jones. "We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown. At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

4:15 p.m.: The Cowboys arrive at their hotel. They do not address reporters.

5:15 p.m.: Dalrymple visits with reporters.

-- Carlos Mendez

Note: All times are CST

Audio: First 911 call on Josh Brent wreck in Irving

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are investigating the club where Dallas Cowboys players may have been before a wreck killed one player early Saturday in Irving and left another jailed.

If violations are found, the club, which a TABC official did not identify Sunday, could be fined or its license permit canceled.

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Price Brent, 24, refused to tell Irving police the name of the club when questioned at the scene of the accident where fellow player Jerry Brown Jr., 25, was killed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Sunday. Brent was driving a 2007 Mercedes-Benz at the time of the crash and he was arrested shortly after the wreck, Irving police said.

But radio station 105.3 The Fan reported that Brent and Brown had been at Privae Dallas, a private club where comedian Shawn Wayans performed Friday night.

Officials with Privae Dallas could not be reached Sunday, but a Twitter account registered to Privae Dallas indicated that Cowboy team members were at the club Friday night. "#Cowboys!! Surprise Celeb guests!!" it said.

TABC agents began their investigation early Saturday just hours after the crash.

"We're establishing where they had been and if they were sold alcohol while they were drunk," said TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck.

Beck said that agents will interview patrons, servers, bartenders and any other witnesses who were in the club. In addition, agents will gather receipts and also obtain any video from surveillance cameras at the club.

"The investigation could take days or it could take months," Beck said.

Bail was set Sunday at $500,000 for Brent, who faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle in the death of his teammate Brown. The two were also teammates at the University of Illinois.

Local television news stations were reporting Sunday that Brent's attorney, George Milner of Dallas, called the bond amount "excessive" but Irving police said Brent was free after making bail Sunday evening.

Brent declined to provide a blood specimen to authorities at the scene of the crash early Saturday, according to the affidavit.

The defensive lineman was taken to a hospital for a mandatory blood draw because there was a death involved, Irving police said. Results of the blood tests could take weeks, authorities said.

An Irving officer at the scene said that he "could smell a moderate odor of alcohol" and "observed sufficient clues to indicate that he (Brent) had lost his mental and physical faculties to operate a motor vehicle" after he conducted field sobriety tests on Brent, according to the affidavit.

Brent suffered minor injuries in the wreck, Irving police said.

The accident occurred at 2:21 a.m. Saturday in the 1400 block of the north service road of Texas 114 in Irving.

As Irving police officers arrived on the scene, they saw Brent dragging Brown from his Mercedes-Benz, which was on fire, authorities said.

Police said Brent was driving at high speed when his car hit the outside curb and flipped at least once before coming to rest in the middle of the service road.

When approached by officers, Brent was responsive and able to speak. But Brown was unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead at 2:57 a.m. Saturday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Brent was identified through his Illinois driver's license, the affidavit stated.

Every team in the National Football League has access to the NFL Players Association's Safe Rides program. Players can call a cab or a driver to pick them up when they have been drinking.

A native of Bloomington, Ill., Brent was arrested in February 2009 for DWI and was suspended indefinitely from the Illinois football team during his sophomore season. Brent pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years' probation, 200 hours of community service and a fine of about $2,000, The Associated Press said. It quoted court records as saying he completed his probation in July 2011.

Brent returned to the team for his junior season.

The Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft. The team created a roster spot Saturday morning before departing for today's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They signed defensive tackle Robert Callaway from the practice squad and put cornerback Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve.

Brent, who has started in four games in place of the injured Jay Ratliff, has 35 tackles, 11/2 sacks and one forced fumble. His forced fumble against Philadelphia last week was returned 50 yards by rookie Morris Claiborne to seal the Cowboys' 38-33 win over the Eagles.

It's the second time in a decade that an active Cowboys player was involved in a traffic fatality.

Cornerback Dwayne Goodrich was the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed two people in 2003. Goodrich was convicted of two counts of criminally negligent homicide and served eight years in prison before being released in 2011.

Brown, a linebacker, was signed to the practice squad Oct. 24.

A native of St. Louis, he played previously with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League as well as the San Antonio Talons and Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League before signing with Indianapolis in May.

He was active for one game with the Colts before being released and signing with the Cowboys. Brown and Brent were roommates in Dallas.

This report contains information for Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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