Dealing with fatality, Cowboys stress supporting each other

IRVING -- The healing continued for the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, and that process includes nose tackle Josh Brent.

Brent was at Valley Ranch on Monday. He met with team medical staff as well as some players and coach Jason Garrett. Brent is expected to attend Jerry Brown's memorial service this afternoon.

"We're going to support Josh 100 percent in every way that we can," Garrett said Monday. "The players will do that, the coaches will do that and everyone in our organization will do that.

"... This thing only happened a couple of days ago, so I'm sure you guys understand the situation he's in and how he feels about the situation, and again, we're trying to help him get through today. It's a very, very difficult and challenging situation for him."

Brent was in an Irving jail Sunday while his teammates were upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals 20-19, a game the Cowboys played with heavy hearts. Brent is accused of driving drunk in an accident that killed Brown, an expectant father, early Saturday morning.

Brent and Brown were college teammates and roommates at Illinois, and Brown moved in with Brent after joining the Cowboys' practice squad Oct. 24. Brent called Brown his "very best friend" in a brief comment to reporters after being released on $500,000 bail Sunday night.

Brent remains on the team's 53-player roster, though his future has yet to be determined.

As with everything involved in this story, the Cowboys are approaching it one day at a time. They did not make players available to reporters Monday as Garrett gave the team a voluntary day off.

He reiterated that "there is no playbook, there is no road map, there is no script for how to handle a situation like this."

"I think you try to [get through] it together," Garrett said. "It's a human situation. It's not a football situation. So how does anyone handle death? So how does anyone handle the sudden death of a young person?

"A point I tried to make to our players: Death is hard. I'm a lot older than you guys, but it's hard. It's hard when you are young. It's hard when you get older. It's just a difficult thing, particularly with people that you care so much about, have so much invested in with. You just try to be honest what the situation is as best you can, try to provide some perspective or wisdom if you have any, and again, try to keep emphasizing the importance of being together and getting through this thing together one day at a time."

The Cowboys carried Brown's No. 53 jersey on the field with them and held it aloft afterward. They will award the game ball to Brown's mother, Stacey Jackson, whom Garrett spoke to after the victory.

"I really loved talking to Jerry's mom," Garrett said. "I wanted to tell her what our team did and I just said, 'Hey, this is Jason Garrett. I coach the Cowboys.' She said, 'Yeah, I just watched the game.'

"It was a hard conversation to get through, but in a really good way a hard conversation. I just told her we loved her son, and we were going to give her a game ball in his memory. He inspired us a great deal."

The Cowboys didn't know Brown long, not as long as Brent has. But it's obvious by their outpouring of emotions that they cared about him just as deeply.

He was a teammate. Thus, he was family.

"He's only been here for six or so weeks," Garrett said. "But he really was a special guy. Every time we saw the guy, he always beat me to the punch. 'How you doing, coach?' He's a big, strapping guy who had a great future. If you look at the pictures, I think the pictures depict him well -- really bright eyes, great smile. That's the way he lived his life, and he was very passionate about football, and that's one of the things that we really, really liked about him -- that he came to work every day.

"He loved to play football; he loved to compete; he was a scout-team player who poured it all out there every day. Those are the kind of guys, as coaches, that you love. The number of times I've written in my notes, 'Jerry Brown! Give this guy a chance; get this guy up; give him an opportunity.' We all felt like he had a great future, and we were looking for chances to let him show us that this year in 2012.

"... Life is different from football. This is a life situation that we're trying to get ourselves through. But there are lessons that we've all learned in football that can try to help us get through this situation. I've tried to convey that to our guys. I certainly have to follow the words that I try share with them the best that I can to try to help me and everyone else get through this time."

Charean Williams,


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