The Dallas Cowboys won’t see Josh Brent at Valley Ranch until Oct. 13 when he can begin attending team meetings. But they still welcomed him back with open arms Wednesday, a day after the league announced Brent’s conditional reinstatement.
“I can’t wait to get him back,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. “He’s an animal. He’s my friend. He’s going to add a lot more juice, not only to the defense, but to the whole team.”
Brent’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said they will appeal the NFL’s ruling, a 10-game suspension for Brent’s drunk-driving manslaughter conviction. Brent is eligible to return to the playing field Nov. 23 when the Cowboys play the New York Giants.
“When that happened, it could have been any of us,” Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer said. “We’ve all been in situations where we shouldn’t have been driving and doing things we that we were doing. I’m really excited for him to get that second opportunity to be back with this team.”
Brent, 26, will have missed 30 games when he is eligible to play again. The Cowboys don’t know what kind of condition Brent will be in when he does return, but are hopeful he can help. Brent has 31 career tackles and 1.5 sacks in 39 games, including five starts.
“The reports that we’ve gotten regarding Josh have been that he’s working very hard and trying to get back,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We talk about supporting a person in his life often times when you have something, an opportunity like playing pro football, often times getting a guy back in that environment is what’s best for him, whatever that field of endeavor is.
“If you’ve gone through some very difficult, tragic situations in your life, you want to get as much normalcy back in your life as possible. I know how important it is for Josh to get back playing football, and by all accounts, he’s working very hard to do that.”
The Cowboys, with the blessing of the Brown family, have fully supported Brent throughout the process.
“We believe in second chances,” owner Jerry Jones told reporters in Austin on Wednesday.
No distraction for Dez
Dez Bryant won’t get a contract extension before Sunday’s season opener. He has said he will ask his agent to cease negotiations once the 49ers game kicks off.
Bryant reiterated Thursday that he won’t let playing out the final year of his deal be a distraction.
“Man, look, it’s like this: My mind is focused on San Fran,” he said. “It’s the only thing it’s focused on. All the other stuff is going to take care of itself, I promise.”
Bryant, the 24th overall pick in 2010, will make $1.78 million, plus a $250,000 workout bonus, in the final year of his rookie deal.
He and owner Jerry Jones met twice last week to talk contract, but the sides have yet to come to agreement on structure, bonus or guaranteed money.
“Truthfully, it’s been great talks,” Bryant said. “… But done is done. If I say it’s done, it’s done.”
Defensive end George Selvie, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, returned to practice Wednesday but was limited.
Defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who is returning from a high ankle sprain, also was limited.
Quarterback Tony Romo, meanwhile, was a full participant.
The only two players to sit out were offensive lineman Darrion Weems (shoulder) and defensive end Anthony Spencer (microfracture knee surgery).