Brent hasn’t pursued reinstatement, NFL commissioner says

Posted Friday, Jan. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Josh Brent has not pursued reinstatement with the league.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday he has had no contact with Brent or Brent’s representatives since the former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and 180 days in jail for killing a teammate while driving drunk.

Brent retired from the NFL on July 18 and sat out last season awaiting trial for his 2012 drunken-driving crash that killed Jerry Brown Jr. He would have to apply for reinstatement from the league before resuming his career and still could be suspended under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Debbie Weir, the chief executive officer of MADD based in Irving, praised Goodell for the league’s efforts in attempting to prevent drinking and driving among players. But she said Friday the NFL Players Association needs to agree to stronger penalties for offenders to serve as a deterrent.

Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little both resumed their NFL careers after being convicted of manslaughter in a drunken driving accident.

“We have to recognize in the NFL we are on a big stage and when something happens that reflects poorly on us, that’s a negative for all of us,” Goodell said Friday. “MADD has been a great partner in educating us, and the No. 1 point they make to me is that these are 100 percent preventable. All we have to do is be a little bit more mindful of it and take the proper steps to avoid these types of tragedies from happening, and that’s our responsibility.”

Goodell answered 30 questions during his annual state of the league address Friday. Among the highlights:

• He said the Miami Dolphins’ locker room hazing incident could lead to a league-wide code of conduct for players. “The No. 1 thing that I believe is we all need to get back to respect,” Goodell said.

• He touted the prospect of adding two playoff teams — one in each conference — to make it a 14-team tournament.

• He said the league is “further down the road” than it was a year ago regarding the possibility of having a franchise in London. London will host three NFL games in 2014, including a November matchup featuring the Cowboys against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Goodell said all three games are sellouts.

• The competition committee is investigating the possibility of the league office being involved in the replay process to ensure correct calls. “I do believe there’s a possibility that some version of that will occur where our office can at least be involved with the decision,” Goodell said. “[We] may not make the decision, but [we] can at least provide some input that would be helpful to the officials on the field to make sure they’re seeing every angle, to make sure they have the proper opportunity to make the best decision.”

• He defended the use of the Redskins name. “This is the name of a football team, a football team that has had that name for 80 years, and has presented the name in a way that has honored Native Americans,” Goodell said.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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