Josh Brent’s NFL future will become clear soon

Posted Monday, Aug. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Defensive tackle Josh Brent is a step closer to returning to the Dallas Cowboys.

Brent will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. Jones said the Cowboys will make a roster spot for Brent if he is cleared to play.

“We will,” Jones said Monday. “Yes, we will. In other words, we wouldn’t have it today, but we will make a roster spot.”

Brent, 26, served a 180-day prison sentence earlier this year after being convicted of intoxication manslaughter in a December 2012 wreck that killed Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown.

Brent was released from jail June 15 to finish the remainder of his sentence in a substance abuse center. He completed the rehab portion of the sentence last week and immediately filed papers to resume his NFL career.

Part of that process is for Brent, who filed his retirement papers last July, to meet with Goodell to see if there will be punishment in adherence to the league’s personal conduct policy.

Jones has maintained all along he would welcome back Brent to the Cowboys if he was cleared to play again. The Cowboys have supported Brent throughout the process. They have done so with the blessing of Brown’s family.

Jones said the prudent thing to do now is to just wait for Goodell to make a ruling.

“The good judgment tells you, let this happen on the commissioner’s time,” Jones said. “Seriously, I don’t want to be presumptuous and there’s no pressure. He looks and should look at all discipline situations straight to the player and the situation, and I know that for a fact.

“There have been a lot of people invested, both from the judicial system as well as what the NFL has to consider in Josh’s case, and there’s no place for input, in my mind, from the club asking to facilitate something that might be to the advantage of the club. This is about the behavior of the player, the player’s future, the NFL and our policies in the NFL.”

Brent played three years with the Cowboys from 2010-2012. He has 41 career tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was a seventh-round pick in the 2010 supplemental draft out of Illinois.

Fight time

Coach Jason Garrett doesn’t condone the fisticuffs that were thrown between receiver Dez Bryant and safety J.J. Wilcox in Sunday’s Blue-White scrimmage.

But he doesn’t deny being pleased with the competitiveness the team has shown throughout training camp.

That it spilled over into a mini brawl was an unfortunate byproduct.

Garrett opened camp with team fight as a theme for the Cowboys this year. It is emblazoned on their team-only T-shirts.

It’s an attitude he wants them to take into the season, starting with Thursday’s preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers through the Sept. 7 opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

“I like the fight that we have,” Garrett said. “I like the competition. There’s a lot of competition all over our roster. Guys are trying to make this team. I think you saw a lot of that in the competition against each [in the scrimmage].

“So fight is something we emphasize to our team. I think we see signs of that. We have to continue to do that. San Diego on Thursday night will be a great opportunity to see where we are.”

For a team that has missed the playoffs each of the past four years and coming off three consecutive 8-8 seasons, including a 2013 campaign with the league’s worst defense, fighting back is good place to start for the Cowboys.

Claiborne out

Cornerback Morris Claiborne, who has been sidelined for the past week with tendinitis, will not play in the preseason opener against the Chargers.

Add in the other injuries — Sterling Moore (groin) and Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) — and the continued absence of starter Brandon Carr (death in the family) and the Cowboys are shorthanded at cornerback.

The team is actively looking to sign a player for depth purposes before the Chargers game on Thursday. They brought in free-agent cornerback Charles Sawyer on Monday, but didn’t sign him after he failed the physical.

Look for second-year player B.W. Webb, second-round pick Terrance Mitchell and undrafted rookie free agent Tyler Patmon to get plenty of work against the Chargers.

The only healthy veteran, Orlando Scandrick, will likely have a short night if he plays at all.

Standout players

Garrett didn’t want to single any individuals out for the play in the Blue-White scrimmage.

But he couldn’t help himself when it came to receivers Terrance Williams and Chris Boyd and defensive end Martez Wilson.

Boyd is a rookie free agent from Vanderbilt, who is in a fight for the sixth receiver spot or a place on the Cowboys practice squad.

Williams is a second-year player who has moved into the second receiver role in place of the departed Miles Austin.

And Wilson is a player the Cowboys hope can fill the pass-rushing void until rookie DeMarcus Lawrence returns from a fractured foot.

“Boyd seems to make plays when you give him an opportunity down the field,” Garrett said. “He made a couple of them [in the scrimmage]. He’s not a young player anymore, but Terrence Williams made a great play on a deep ball coming back to it. I thought it was physical up front. Martez Wilson showed up a little bit as a pass rusher on a consistent basis throughout.”

Guard signs

The Cowboys signed guard Wayne Tribue after waiving Brian Clarke, who has been slowed by a groin injury. Tribue played with the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League season.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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