Gil LeBreton

August 7, 2014

Brent’s return: Not now, not here with Cowboys

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to weigh lineman’s past with in-team consequences.

He killed his teammate.

I’m sorry, but I can’t get past that seemingly neglected part of the Josh Brent case.

The Josh Brent case that was dropped in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s lap Thursday.

The Josh Brent, fresh out of jail — again — for driving drunk, to whom Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to give a “second chance.”

Help me out here, because I’m having trouble imagining how Brent’s reinstatement meeting with Goodell must have gone Thursday afternoon.

Commish: Is this the first time you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence?

Brent: No, I pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years probation while I was in college.

Commish: And after you were indicted in December of 2012 for intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown, how did your time go while on bail and awaiting trial?

Brent: Well, I failed two drug tests and tried to monkey with my monitoring device 22 times.

Help me out. How does Brent make a case for reinstatement when any responsible adult can see that he’s already had a second, third, fourth and maybe even 23rd time to show that he can’t be trusted?

It’s easy to understand the wobbly pulpit that Owner Jones is standing on. He needs a player who once started for the Cowboys at defensive tackle. Jerry fancies himself as a comeback story of sorts. (Get him to tell you about the day he had his credit cards declined).

Jones likes the rogues and the second-chance guys. He hired Barry Switzer. He signed Terrell Owens. He lionizes Michael Irvin, even though Irvin’s misbehavior launched the decline of the franchise.

Jerry is no saint, but there’s no harm in him acting like one. But Jones is no god, either, and for him to continue to value Brent’s football career over the loss of Jerry Brown’s life is morally shameful.

Throughout the tragedy, granted, Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, and his family have responded with angelic forgiveness. May God continue to bless and comfort them.

But Brent’s future football career should not depend upon a mother’s tears and forgiveness. If Owner Jones wants to give someone a second chance, it should be Jerry Brown’s family.

Six weeks. That’s how long linebacker Brown was a member of the Cowboys’ practice squad.

Should that matter? Be careful how you answer that.

Suppose Brent, while drunk and driving (according to police) 110 mph along Highway 114, killed some other Cowboys teammate? A star player, heaven forbid?

If he had been responsible for the death of a star player, would Cowboys fans and Owner Jones be so eager to see Brent again in a Dallas uniform?

The argument here isn’t that Josh Brent should be banned for life from the NFL. He should be allowed to make a living, after an appropriate disciplinary suspension as decided by Goodell. One year from Thursday ought to suffice.

For Goodell to weigh Brent’s 159 days spent in jail as “time served” would be immaterial. Dallas County assistant district attorney Heath Harris told that repeatedly while Brent was awaiting trial, “He refuses to comply with the rules.”

Owner Jones may want him back. But as a fellow motorist who drives our local highways, I don’t want Josh Brent on the same roads as me.

He killed his teammate.

After a year, if the commissioner chooses, let Brent resume his football livelihood. But elsewhere, not here.

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