Cowboys honor practice squad player, family at memorial service
12/11/2012 11:30 PM
06/08/2013 11:54 PM
DALLAS -- Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent, facing a charge of intoxication manslaughter in the one-car wreck that killed teammate Jerry Brown, joined the rest of the Cowboys and Brown's family at a private memorial service for the practice squad linebacker on Tuesday.
Brent's presence was at the request of Brown's mother, Stacey Jackson, who was flown to Dallas from her home in St. Louis on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' private plane.
Brent met the family at the airport and rode with them in a black van to the memorial, held at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. They arrived around 12:21 p.m. for the scheduled 1 p.m. service.
The rest of the team came shortly afterward, with many arriving in their own cars, including quarterback Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, tight end Jason Witten, defensive end Jason Hatcher and nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Coach Jason Garrett and many other staffers came via two buses to the memorial service, which lasted roughly an hour.
Many of the players lined up to hug Brent along with the family inside the church. Cowboys chaplain Jonathan Evans, who was with the team in Cincinnati, read Scripture. His father, Dr. Tony Evans, the pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, offered the message of comfort.
Jones declined comment afterward "out of respect to the sanctity of the service."
He acknowledged earlier on his radio show on KRLD/105.3 FM that Brent remained a big part of the Cowboys family as well as the Browns. Brent and Brown were best friends and roommates in college as well as with the Cowboys.
"[Jackson] wanted Josh Brent to ride with them to the memorial service and sit with them during the service," Jones said. "They were best friends and teammates in college. Jerry was living with Josh ...because of Josh's generosity. They were on the way to the house when the accident happened.
"She wanted to be right with Josh. She wanted to express in every way she could how much they loved him and thought of him. She wanted him included with the family."
Brown's funeral will be held later this week in his hometown of St. Louis. The Cowboys are not expected to attend.
Jackson said earlier that while she mourns for her son she also knows that Brent is hurting, too.
"I was upset, but I realized that our youth today are young and stupid, and we were all once that age, and we've all done things we're not proud of," Jackson said Monday on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. "I realized that everyone thinks they're invincible, and everyone thinks, 'It's not going to happen to me.'
"I know Josh Brent, and he's been part of our family since Jerry went to the University of Illinois."
Brent is out of jail on $500,000 bail. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Brent was at the Cowboys' complex getting treatment Monday and continues to be welcome there, according to Garrett. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league has no problem with Brent going to the team's Valley Ranch training facilities.
Though Brent suffered some injuries in the crash and might not physically or mentally be fit to play Sunday against Pittsburgh at Cowboys Stadium, he remained on the active roster until Wednesday. He was then moved to the non-football injury list.
As a person accused of repeatedly driving under the influence, Brent is required to have an interlock ignition device placed in his car while out on bail. It is similar to a breathalyzer but is connected to the vehicle and requires that a driver breathe into the device before starting the vehicle.
If the ignition interlock device detects the blood-alcohol concentration of the driver to be above the programmed limit, the engine of the vehicle will not start.
Brent is required to have the device put on his car within 30 days. He was issued a temporary license when he was released from jail.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.
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