Josh Brent could return to the Dallas Cowboys if he applies and is granted reinstatement by the NFL.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear that he would consider bringing Brent back into the organization even though Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 10 years probation and mandatory rehab for a December 2012 car wreck that killed former teammate Jerry Brown Jr.
“I do believe in paying your debt,” Jones said. “Paying your debt, paying the price to the extent that he does that.
“We have stood with Josh Brent from the very beginning and continue [to do so]. Josh Brent deserves an opportunity. He has made a terrible mistake. He knows it. I know firsthand he has contrition. I know that. And so yes, I will consider giving him an opportunity.”
Brent, who is listed on the Cowboys’ retirement list and didn’t play last season, will finish his rehab next week. After that, a source said, he will begin the process for reinstatement and could face a suspension before being cleared to return.
Jones doesn’t believe the Cowboys would be sending the wrong message or condoning drinking and driving if they brought Brent back.
“Do you get a chance to start over?” Jones said. “Do we believe in paying your dues and getting a chance to start over? That’s the other side of that. Principally in this country, we believe in giving an opportunity to pay your dues and pay your penalty and move forward.”
Tony Romo has been declared full-go for training camp.
Coach Jason Garrett said Romo’s recovery from back surgery last December has been “outstanding,” and that the star quarterback will not be limited early on in camp.
“He’s made great strides,” Garrett said. “He has been working hard on his conditioning, on his throwing, and we do anticipate him being ready to go for all aspects.”
The Cowboys will monitor Romo closely.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton (torn ACL) is also expected to be a full-go. Two players who are not ready to practice and could be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list are defensive end Anthony Spencer (microfracture surgery on his knee) and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (personal medical issue).
Worth the risk?
The Cowboys believe Rolando McClain can revive his career and become the player the Oakland Raiders thought they were drafting in 2010. That’s why they traded for him, even though he hasn’t played since 2012, and why he remains on the roster despite facing a trial date Friday.
“We felt like with his ability, with the kind of person he’s demonstrated himself to be in the past, maybe we can help him through some of these issues he has and get this guy back playing at the level we all thought he was capable of playing,” Garrett said.
McClain is among several candidates in camp to replace Sean Lee at middle linebacker. He arrived with the team Tuesday, will practice Thursday and then return to Alabama for a hearing Friday, Garrett said.
Briefly• Jerry Jones said the Cowboys finally decided to release Kyle Orton because the backup quarterback planned to show up for training camp to avoid repaying the $3 million he owed the team in signing bonus money. Orton told the team this off-season he intended to retire.
• The Cowboys will have the offense and defense work separately the first two days of camp. Said Garrett: “We just feel like that’s the right thing to do to get guys ready to play football.”