The Cowboys have yet to get word from the league on the possible reinstatement of defensive tackle Josh Brent, but owner Jerry Jones said Monday that he expects to hear something this week.
Jones also said that whenever Brent returns he will be a changed -- and better -- man because of his experiences since being convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown.
In January, Brent was sentenced to 10 years probation and 180 days in jail. He got out 45 days early, spending the final stint in rehab. But Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM that the incarceration had a huge impact on Brent regarding discipline and life lessons.
“When you, on Monday, are given a roll of toilet paper, and it’s got to last you until next Monday, that’s a lesson of discipline,” Jones said. “That’s a lesson of life. That’s what happened to Josh. When you have someone next door to you that grabs your plate of food and you weigh 340 pounds, but you don’t mess with him. He just looks at you, because you know that guy doesn’t care if you live or die, that’s a life experience. I think there’s a chance that Josh Brent may come out here and have a perspective that none of us have seen before, especially from Josh.”
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Jones doesn’t know what kind of football player Brent will be upon his return. It all depends on his physical conditioning after so much time away. But he acknowledges that Brent was good enough to be a contributor in Dallas before the tragedy and still could help the team’s talent-starved defensive line.
“He’s a strong football player,” Jones said. “If he could really come in and has got his physical conditioning in shape, sooner rather than later on that football field we could really have an asset there. It might not be the same Josh Brent that left the football field, and that one was good enough to play and be a contributor right now for the Dallas Cowboys.”
Jones said Brent may have as a big an influence in the locker room as he does on the field because of his life experiences from jail in terms of showing others what to do as well as displaying his new-found discipline on a daily basis.
Jones even compared Brent’s life-altering experiences to that of defensive tackle Chad Hennings, a former Air Force fighter pilot who flew 45 missions in the Gulf War before becoming winning three Super Bowls with the Cowboys in the 1990s.
“I do know that when someone goes through life-changing experiences, that’s what we like to think football does for young men, but he’s had that experience,” Jones said. “He’s had that experience. He deserved that and some people think he deserved more, but the point is he has been through some eye-opening days. We could really benefit from that as a football team. In a totally and completely different way, and I’m going to make sure everybody understands it is a completely different way, if you understand what I’m saying Chad Hennings joined the Dallas Cowboys and he had actually flown in Desert Storm single-pilot jets. Had actually had a crash in single-pilot jets. Chad Hennings had developed a discipline and developed a work ethic that made him a man among boys, and he was a major contributor technically [and] physically, but boy, was he a contributor being an example of work ethic and an appreciation for the job you’ve got. It’s a shame that all athletes to some degree can’t have some of these life experiences and really have an appreciation for what a great opportunity it is to play in the National Football League. But Josh has had that, I think.”