Josh Brent doesn’t know whether he’ll play Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys insist no decision has been made, and the defensive tackle said he will be a game-time decision.
But Brent maintains he’s ready despite still being above his playing weight of 320 pounds.
“I think he’s had some good, solid work days out there for us,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “He’s fairly nimble. He’s getting in better shape. He’s really strong at the point. I’ve seen more than that. The guy’s a good athlete. Right now, it’s about conditioning and getting in better shape and keying into what we’re doing.”
Brent, 26, last played in a game on Dec. 2, 2012. He has missed 30 regular-season games after being at the wheel in a drunk-driving wreck six days later that killed teammate Jerry Brown.
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Brent retired last season while awaiting trial for intoxication manslaughter. He was convicted Jan. 24, and after serving his sentence — 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation — the NFL imposed a 10-game suspension.
Now, he’s back for a second chance.
“He’s just champing at the bit, and [with Brent’s return to the rotation] you just see things that are really indicative of good teams,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show on KRLD 105.3 FM. “You can be in drills, and you’ll see a big 300, and in his case, a good 330-340 pounds, running after the ball 15 yards down the field. That’s the kind of effort you’re getting from practice sessions from these interior guys. Well, that’s a positive.
“You also see him drive that All-Pro center we’ve got back there back into the backfield some times, which is good for both of them.”
Pellerin moving up
Cornerback Tyler Patmon (knee/ankle) is the only Cowboys player ruled out of Sunday’s game. The other six Cowboys on the injury report, including five starters, are all probable.
The Cowboys will call up Micah Pellerin from the practice squad to serve as the fourth cornerback behind Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick and Sterling Moore. They will have to make a roster move before leaving Saturday.
“I’ve just got to be prepared when my number is called, to just perform, whatever capacity, whether it’s defense or special teams,” Pellerin said.
Pellerin played two games for the Cowboys last season after spending eight weeks on the practice squad. He spent the first 11 weeks of this season on the practice squad.
“It’s the same type of defense, but there are certain nuances that are different this year as opposed to last year, so just getting accustomed to those things,” Pellerin said. “But all in all, this defense allows you to play fast. You look at the practices this week, I think consistently I’ve been getting better, and so ultimately this last practice was my best practice, so it’s good. It helps you play fast.”
Loving the RBs
The Cowboys had no interest in Ben Tate or LeGarrette Blount, Jerry Jones said, because they feel good about their running backs.
DeMarco Murray leads the league with 1,233 yards, and although Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar have only 63 touches for 444 yards and a touchdown this season, the team owner remains confident in Murray’s backups.
“We’ve got one that if he carried that ball 20 times a game, I think he would have outstanding numbers in the 100-yard-up area. That is Joseph Randle,” Jones said on his radio show. “We’re really proud of his progress, what he’s doing. When he’s gotten the ball, he’s been impressive. He’s been impressive away from the ball.
“Then, of course, we can’t seem to get for anybody’s satisfaction, mainly [play-caller Scott] Linehan or Jason [Garrett] or anybody involved, we can’t seem to get the ball in Dunbar’s hands enough.
“When you look at that, and then we’ve got a back on our practice squad, [Ryan] Williams that just absolutely is ready to go if called upon. So we’re in pretty good shape at running back.”
Tate was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings, and Blount signed with the New England Patriots.